Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Zeitoun / by Dave Eggers

Syrian-born Abdulrahman Zeitoun was an American citizen a New Orleans resident when Hurricane Katrina hit. Like so many others, he'd merely been minding his own business up until the disaster, seeing to his affairs and looking after his loved ones. Electing to send his family out of town to stay with relatives as the storm approached, he himself stayed behind to watch over his private business, a contract construction company. But when the levees broke and as much of the city rapidly became submerged, Zeitoun set out in his small canoe, helping to rescue people as the waters rose. His individual relief efforts met with some strange fortune and ill fate, however, as amid the chaos and confusion of the tragedy, he was abruptly arrested on dubious charges which included accusations that he was a terrorist and a member of Al-Queda. Details about Zeitoun's subsequent harrowing personal experiences are described in vivid detail.
Dave Eggers has been something of a literary wunderkind since his novel What Is The What (FIC EGGERS) burst on to the scene in 2006. The Pulitzer Prize-nominated Zeitoun reveals why. With brilliant illumination and exceptional candor, Eggers recounts the tragedy that befell Abdulrahman Zeitoun. Retold through an extensive collection of news stories, official documents and personal interviews, the author recreates a tale of an almost inconceivable nature yet a true American story all the same. It's no wonder that both the book and Eggers himself continue to be showered with applause and awards (see here). The work is a true masterpiece with a definitive and lasting impact, one which will no doubt be a longstanding classic with a message resonating throughout the 21st century. The Zeitoun Foundation has even been set up with a goal to help rebuild New Orleans while at the same time promoting further understanding between peoples of different faiths around the world. A movie adaptation is also in the works. (976.335064 EGGERS)

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