In his new novel, Dave Eggers grapples with the concerns of modern-day violent, psychotic youth. Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? (Knopf) is the story of Thomas, an anagry young man disillusioned with his family, his country and the universe in general and who, in search of answers, kidnaps several people and takes them to an abandoned naval base for questioning. His victims include an astronaut with whom he went to college, a state congressman with two missing limbs, an elementary schoolteacher who may have molested him, his recovering alcoholic mother and a policeman who shot his only friend. Thomas’s interrogations read like philosophic thought experiments, with captor and prisoner working together to reach some metaphysical truth. The characters are poorly developed—they exist only to provide answers to Thomas’s questions, including: What good is the American dream of becoming an astronaut now that America has no space shuttle? Still, Your Fathers is an enjoyable read: it is short, composed entirely of dialogue and written with a dark sense of humour. I read this novel in one sitting and, if nothing else, I got a few cathartic thrills out of Thomas’s cosmic investigation. I’ve got some questions of my own for the universe, but unfortunately I don’t have access to chloroform, a stun gun or an abandoned naval base.