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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Abundant Praise for Zeitoun

Hey everybody! Dave Eggers' Zeitoun just came out in paperback.  If you missed it in hardcover, here's what we had to say about it:

Heroic and harrowing. Inspiring and insane. Spiritual and scandalous. I was sure I didn't need to read anything more about Katrina. I was wrong.
Abdulrahman Zeitoun's first-hand account of New Orleans in the days after Katrina is unlike any I have read before. There is a starkness, a silence, and strangely enough, a beauty to the things he experiences...to a point. And there are so many social injustice issues going on that it's hard to know exactly where the story will end; with what message will we walk away?

The simplicity of the language is at first striking. Could this really be a Dave Eggers book? But I understand now, that unlike What is the What, this book is less about the author and his craft and more about his subject. And I appreciate the more reportorial style. When I'm reading it I can say "I know this happened; this is real". It's an important, timely story and I believe the blurring of the line between memoir and fiction would have greatly
diminished it's power.

Read this book, tell your friends.
This book has convinced me that Dave Eggers was born to write other people's stories. He has done justice to Zeitoun's story and made it obvious that his was not a unique case without making the story sensational or romantic.

It's not a fun book, but like What Is The What, it's not nearly as depressing as it could have been and shows a personal side of a very public sequence of events.

If I could make one recently-read book "required reading" this would be it. I postponed reading it, then Tim Egan's moving review in the NYT moved it to the top of my list, and quickly to my finished shelf. The basic goodness of ordinary citizens contrasted with the bumbling of the government in the wake of Katrina 4 years ago is a lesson that should not be forgotten - while Zeitoun and his family persevered, their scars remain, as do those throughout New Orleans.
This is just a small sampling of our staff who have read and loved this book.  You really won't be disappointed.

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