Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Not because I have a crush on Dave Eggers, but because this book looks completely absorbing, Zeitoun is jostling for top spot among a pile of books on my 'next read' list.
It's not a new book, it came out in 2009, but having just seen this excellent review in the London Review of Books I have to read it. Eggers spent three years writing and researching to bring the real life story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun into the public arena.
When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Zeitoun, a prosperous Syrian-American and father of four, chose to stay through the storm to protect his house and contracting business. In the aftermath of the devastation he paddled the flooded streets in a secondhand canoe, passing on supplies and rescuing at least ten people. But on September 6 2005, Zeitoun abruptly disappeared, seized on his own property by police who refused to tell him why he was being arrested and would not allow him even a phone call to contact relatives or a lawyer.
Eggers’ book explores Zeitoun’s roots in Syria, his marriage to Kathy (an American who converted to Islam), their children, and the surreal atmosphere in New Orleans and the United States in which what happened to Abdulrahman Zeitoun became possible.
Proceeds from sales of Zeitoun are distributed to the Zeitoun Foundation, which aids in the rebuilding and ongoing health of the city of New Orleans.
Luckily for me Santa Claus left a very generous bookstore voucher in my Christmas stocking...so my donation comes all the way from the North Pole.