Friday, July 22, 2016

Zietoun by Dave Eggers

It's easy for the rest of the world to forget the utter devastation that Hurrican Katrina brought to New Orleans in 2005, but for those who experienced it first hand it's unforgettable. For those affected by the inadequate supplies, ineffective government response, and inexcusable military force in the wake of the incredible storm, it's still a part of their lives even a decade later.

This nonfiction narrative novel follows the dramatic story of one Syrian immigrant man separated from his family and called to help where he could during the aftermath. Abdulrahman Zeitoun and his wife, Kathy, own several rental buildings in New Orleans and a successful, well-known painting and contracting company. Kathy and their four children evacuate before the storm hits, but her husband stays behind to manage their buildings and minimize damage.

For days after the storm, Zeitoun travels the neighborhood in a canoe, helping residents who did not evacuate, feeding pets left behind, and helping wherever possible. He's proud of the work he's doing, believing that maybe God called for him to be there. And then he's arrested.

This story is interesting, informative, and horrifying - but also, I found  the narrative drags a bit in the middle section (I listened to the audiobook on CD and it took a very long time for me to get through that section of the book). 

We chose this title as a book discussion at the library, and the group talked quite a bit about how they viewed Zeitoun after reading the book, and then again in light of more recent news stories concerning him. After you read the book, research a bit to determine for yourself.

No comments: