When HurricaneKatrina struck New Orleans, Abdulrahman Zeitoun - a prosperous Syrian-American and father of four - chose to stay through the storm to protect his house and contracting business. In the eerie days after the storm, he traveled the flooded streets in a secondhand canoe, passing on supplies and rescuing those he could. A week later, on September 6, 2005, Zeitoun abruptly disappeared.
Eggers's riveting work, three years in the making, follows Zeitoun back to his childhood in Syria and around the world during his years as a sailor. The book also traces the story of Zeitoun's wife Kathy - a boisterous Southerner who converted to Islam - and their wonderful, funny, devoted family. When Zeitoun vanishes, Kathy is left to make sense of the surreal atmosphere (in New Orleans and the United States generally) in which what happened to Abdulrahman Zeitoun was possible.
©2009 Dave Eggers; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
"Imagine Charles Dickens, his sentimentality in check but his journalistic eyes wide open, roaming New Orleans after it was buried by Hurricane Katrina ... Eggers's tone is pitch-perfect - suspense blended with just enough information to stoke reader outrage and what is likely to be a typical response: How could this happen in America?" (Timothy Egan, The New York Times)
I don't know....I just found it lacked substance and the detailing was long winded.
slow, deep, monotone
Yes the characters were delightful and inspiring.
The is a true story of a man named Abdulrahman Zeitoun and his experiences when he stayed in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Eggers wants to outrage us, and he succeeds by telling it straight, piling detail upon detail, and treating his protagonists--Zeitoun, his wife Kathy, their friends and family, and the people they encountered during this period--with respect and caring.
The story is simple. Zeitoun, a Syrian Muslim who has immigrated to the US, settled in New Orleans, and built a successful and well-respected contracting business, chooses to stay in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina floods the city to watch over his property and do what he can to help other residents. His wife, Kathy, chooses to flee the city with their 4 children, but the 2 are able to keep in touch regularly until he suddenly disappears. The circumstances of his disappearance, the efforts of Kathy and Zeitoun's farflung but loving Syrian relatives to find out what happened to him, and the ultimate resolution are described in simple, unpretentious, but elegant prose -- and yes -- things like this are not supposed to happen in the USA.
I can't believe that a writer as talented as Eggers published this! Where is his editor? Perhaps if I had read the physical book I could have ignored the inane dialogue. I found the repetitions distracting. Someone said this should have been a magazine article. I agree. Or at least embed the story in more general Katrina info or follow a character in the Dome also.
This book breaks so many writing rules--show don't tell. Make your characters likable. Dialogue should advance the story. I finally put it down after reading 7/8 of it because I was tired of rewriting his sentences in my head.
The performance was not bad. He could of read faster to minimize my suffering.
100% of the books I read are in audible format. I enjoy reading apocalyptic, WWII, psychology, classics, contemporary and non-fiction.
I just finished Zeitoun and I highly recommend it. I thought I had an idea of what their Katrina-related story was about -- I listened to an NPR program where he and his wife were the guest speakers and I listened to the NPR This American Life episode on the Katrina. aftermath...however prepared I thought I was -- and sort of dreaded listening, I did not know the extent of the Zeitoun's story. It is something else -- you can only say, "in America, this happened?" Out of context, one would think that the location was in a third world country...incredible, sad, but the Zeitoun’s have a story to tell and in the end, they are sanguine, still, about their future, about the United States. It is a family story, actually, and not that difficult to read -- it does pick up into the meatier more exciting material midway, but one needs to know about the family history to become connected -- sort of a must read, I think. I thought the narration was excellent, too.
I am 2/3 of the way through, and it so slow. So many of the details are unnecessary and repititious. If I read it, I would skim quickly past those parts, but you can't when you listen. Either listen to an abridged version or read this book. Warning: it will take forever if you listen! This is about the 80th book I have listened to and this is only the second time I wished it were abridged. The story is worthwhile, just not in this format.
Excellent historic with very little fiction. Full of surprises and a unique view of a well publicised disaster.
Dave Eggers knows how to tell a story. The story is compelling and thought provoking. This story confirms that old adage that the truth is stranger than fiction. The narration is spot on.
After reading this well written book- I experienced a change in my heart. It provided knowledge that I had forgotten and renewed my love for all of God's people.
I had three good friends of the Moslem faith during my college days. I dated one young man studing to be a physician and he was a good friend. We never discussed religion because we knew we did not agree. We had fun and he was a good man.
After 9-11 my heart changed and I felt a resentment toward the people I saw cheering in the streets on TV. The resentment suddenly spread to all people of the Moslem faith. The feelings were not hate but anger and a blaming this group of people for the events. I think many American feel this way and really do not realize that there are so many wonderful Moslem people in the USA that are a great asset to all of us. Just as we have American that do awful things, the same is true of all Religious groups.
The Moslem people are good people that love and care for their families and for others.
After reading this book I felt shame for my feelings and knew I was wrong in my judgements toward this Faith. It was healing to my soul and I highly encourage others to read this book. I am a better American and person.
I do not think I am the one to judge this book. I am not an American. I am not a Muslim. I am not religious and lack the faith spoken of in this book. Furthermore, I do not think this book adequately looks at what happened before, during and after Katrina. It studies one family’s experiences, only that. Zeitoun disobeyed the mandatory evacuation order.
Nothing wrong with the narration by Firdous Bamji.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
Anyone who doubts that a police state is possible in America should read this book. All it takes is for something to be declared an emergency and civil rights go out the window. This book describes in detail the real life story of how the US Government destroyed the lives of the Zeitoun family. Nothing in Kafka compares to the faceless bureaucracy the Zeitouns had to fight. I am still waiting to hear the Government come forth with anything resembling an adequate apology. I am still waiting for the individuals responsible to bear any of the consequences for their actions. Sadly, as I write this, time has shown that the consequences for the Zeitouns ran much deeper than Mr. Eggers guessed at when he wrote this book. Abdulrahman Zeitoun has paid a terrible price for the way the US Government has treated him.
"Interesting and horrifying"
This is a good book, which tells the terrible story of how this poor man was treated by the US authorities. It is also a rather telling account of how said authorities dealt with the aftermath of Katrina. It was mostly a good read, but it left me annoyed, frustrated and quite horrified.
"Author of misfortune"
Although I am by no means a supporter of the George W Bush administration, a natural lefty and, in American terms, a Democrat - this supposed frontal assault on red-neck, jingoistic, Republicanism literally in the wake of Hurricane Katrina seems to end up scoring more own goals than home runs. Despite repeated instructions on the part of the authorities to leave New Orleans the supposed ‘hero‘ of the book chose of his own free will to stay in town and look after his property. Those ‘oppressing‘ Police, National Guards and Civil Authorities were then obliged to put their own lives in peril by being obliged to go into the city to effect ‘rescues,‘ in the process running the risk of natural dangers and those from the albeit very small number of criminals who used the opportunity to loot their way through the wreckage. His wife in the meantime, faced with the fact that while she chooses to make a visible and daily symbol of her devotion to an all-loving God but cannot stand to be in the same house as her mother and immediate family even for a few days in a time of crisis, decamps over 1,000 miles away.At worst American society can display all that is deplorable in human nature - racism, paranoia and a total disregard for personal liberty when it gets in the way of the perceived ‘greater good.’ Here, however, a total disregard for the safety of others, the needs of the wider family members, a delusion of persecution and unwarranted self-importance are all on display and, unfortunately, whilst one finger points forward, there are three fingers pointing back to the accuser.
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