Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

zeitounI read Zeitoun by Dave Eggers last week. I just cannot recommend it enough. It’s fantastic and nearly impossible to put down. Despite running low on sleep all week, I couldn’t simply read a few pages and fall asleep. I’d pick it up at 10pm and the next thing I knew it was 11.45.

It’s the story of a Syrian immigrant who has lived and worked in New Orleans for ten years when Hurricane Katrina hits. Though his family (wife, three daughters, son and dog) all evacuate, he stays behind. For several days after the storm, he paddles a canoe around the city feeding dogs, helping stranded victims in what little ways he can. It’s oddly peaceful. And then he’s suddenly caught up in the absolutely horrible way the government “helped” New Orleans.

I don’t want to spoil anything because it is a suspenseful story. And it’s frustrating and saddening and aggravating to read how our government treated this man and his family. It’s also a look at the weird world that New Orleans became after Hurricane Katrina.

It’s a wonderful book and I loved every second of it. By focusing on one family and one man in particular, Eggers tells a great story of the aftermath of the storm. And how that aftermath was even more destructive than the winds and water.