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Zeitoun | [Dave Eggers]

Zeitoun

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.
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Publisher's Summary

In his new nonfiction book Zeitoun, New York Times best-selling author Dave Eggers tells a Hurricane Katrina story unlike any written before.

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (756 )
5 star
 (319)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.2 (356 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (351 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (49)
2 star
 (12)
1 star
 (12)
Performance
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  •  
    SarahElizabeth STATEN ISLAND, NY, United States 06-21-13
    SarahElizabeth STATEN ISLAND, NY, United States 06-21-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Story, Annoying Narrator"
    What did you like best about Zeitoun? What did you like least?

    I loved the story. I had only been in the US a year when Katrina hit and still in high school. The extent of the damage as well as the breakdown of the society was incomprehensible at the time. This book gave me more insight in the time it took to listen to the book than all of the news reports combined. I really enjoyed the book.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    The narrator could have pronounced the "s" in all of the plurals. I'm not one to be nit picky about narration but it was seriously annoying. Also, the Arabic terms could have been pronounced a lot better. I understand that he might have been trying to Americanize the words to make sure all readers understood what he was saying, but it took away from the book.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Yes, and from my understanding, there will be a movie.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Somers, CT, USA 03-11-13
    John Somers, CT, USA 03-11-13 Member Since 2002
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    "A ground view of Hurricane Katrina"

    Hurricanes and other natural disasters are often designated 'Acts of God" by insurance and other authorities... but how those authorities and victims react is very much driven by people. Zeitoun is a victim of Hurricane Katrina, and he decides do what he can to alleviate the suffering of other victims since he is strong and has some resources. So he sends his family away to safety and proceeds to paddle around in his canoe to check up on things. He finds that not all of those who are helping, including first responders, are doing much helping. He becomes victimized a 2nd time at the hands of "Authority" as he is accused of looting.

    It's a fascinating story, told from the vantage point of someone who was there, lived through it, and suffered the consequences. Did the experience change him and those around him? How could it not? Read it and find out how. And maybe you will be motivated to voluntary community services.

    Nicely written, well read. It was a spellbinding story, the story of Hurricane Katrina that the media missed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren Fitchburg, WI, United States 03-01-13
    Lauren Fitchburg, WI, United States 03-01-13 Member Since 2012
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    9
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    Story
    "What an Incredible Story…"
    If you could sum up Zeitoun in three words, what would they be?

    Inspiring. Shocking. Moving.


    What other book might you compare Zeitoun to and why?

    I'm not sure that I have read a book that would be a good comparison. I'll have to think about that...


    Have you listened to any of Firdous Bamji’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't, but would be interested.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Not so much a moment, but the pure determination of Zeitoun's wife throughout the entire ordeal.


    Any additional comments?

    I was shocked to learn that this happened in our country in the very recent past. I have also read about what has since happened to Zeitoun and it is very upsetting. You have to wonder how much his situation after Katrina played into the broken life he finds himself in now.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Crockett, CA, United States 02-10-13
    Linda Crockett, CA, United States 02-10-13 Member Since 2010
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    "One of the best books I have listened to"

    This was one of my favorite books. I have given it to many people. We all have heard so much about Katrina, this story puts a face to the events and adds the additional element of telling a us more about being Muslim in America. A must read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nan Concord, MA, United States 02-04-13
    Nan Concord, MA, United States 02-04-13 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Starts slow, becomes a page turner"
    What did you love best about Zeitoun?

    The story starts out as a simple recounting of the the life of Zeitoun and his family/ I thought it was like reading a history book, not that interesting. But then it grabs you and doesn't let go.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Zeitoun?

    This book gives a damning account of how civil rights can be COMPLETELY ignored in this country when ignorant, thoughtless people who don't care about their fellow human beings and can make their life total hell and don't care at all. It's incomprensible.


    Have you listened to any of Firdous Bamji’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    The performance was good


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Powell, OH, United States 01-22-13
    Laurie Powell, OH, United States 01-22-13 Member Since 2006
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    "Couldn't stick with it"
    What would have made Zeitoun better?

    It was far too slow. Also, I wasn't interested in the virtues of Islam, leave out the preaching please. If you have a character who is Islamic, fine - I like reading of the life and beliefs of other cultures, but I thought it was far too heavy handed.


    What was most disappointing about Dave Eggers’s story?

    I stopped 1/2 way through the book because it just hadn't gotten better. I wanted to like it.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Very laid back performance, perhaps too laid back.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ken solomon LaGrangeville, NY United States 01-07-13
    ken solomon LaGrangeville, NY United States 01-07-13 Member Since 2012
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    "terrific listen"

    great insight into the tragedy of hurricane Katrina. Not only the physical devastation, but the blotch on our humanity as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonelle Camp Hill, PA, United States 12-14-12
    Jonelle Camp Hill, PA, United States 12-14-12 Member Since 2008

    A librarian who loves to read, whether in print or in the air

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gripping True Story"

    Zeitoun is our community's One Book, One Community selection, and it's easy to see why it was chosen. It has very interesting characters, a gripping story and it's true - depicting terrible injustices committed by our government against some of the victims of Hurrican Katrina.

    Since the book was selected and promoted for community wide reading and discussion, Zeitoun himself has now found himself charged with attempting to hire others to murder his wife.

    Dave Eggers' book takes care to paint Zeitoun as a man who is very concerned with doing the right thing for others, and doing what God would want him to do as a devout Muslim. Of course, none of that is in keeping with the charges he now faces. Zeitoun was a troubling book that left me with many unanswered questions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Orinda, CA, United States 11-19-12
    Laurie Orinda, CA, United States 11-19-12
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    "Dave Eggers writes a winner once again."
    Where does Zeitoun rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Ranks right up at the top. Excellent book, well written and well read. It's an amazing story. I highly recommend this book. Very informative re Katrina and it's aftermath as well as the experience of Muslims in America and how they are treated.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    michelle yuro 05-28-12
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    3
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    "Boring"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I don't know....I just found it lacked substance and the detailing was long winded.


    Has Zeitoun turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No


    What three words best describe Firdous Bamji’s voice?

    slow, deep, monotone


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Yes the characters were delightful and inspiring.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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