Sunday Spotlight On: Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
Published by Vintage Books, an imprint of Random House

Although he now lives in California, Dave Eggers is a Chicago native and, really, a Chicago institution. As such, it pains me to admit that I have never read any of his work. “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” was, at one point, what every single person from my high school class was raving about on their Facebook page so I did pick it up. Unfortunately, in my first year of teaching for Teach for America in West Englewood, Chicago I did not have the emotional energy to read a new-to-me book about a 22 year-old becoming the guardian of his 8 year-old brother on the death of their parents. That was the year of comfort re-reads, people. I abandoned the book and ended up losing it somewhere I suppose, since it is not on my shelves now. Fast forward a couple of years and I am on LibraryThing and have started blogging, and Eggers makes his way onto my radar again, with “What is the What,” Eggers’ fictionalized memoir of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. “What is the What” is still on my shelves somewhere, but I have not yet managed to read it.

Egger’s newest book, “Zeitoun” is, I believe, not fated to join its brothers in the realm of books I don’t get to. Like its fictionalized counterpart “City of Refuge” by Tom Piazza, which was one of my favorite books last year, “Zeitoun” tells the story of New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. I love – if that is the right word – thoughtful books about the travesty and tragedy of Katrina and the indomitable spirit of the people of New Orleans. “Zeitoun,” however, goes one step further and tells a story that sounds even more fascinating: that of a Syrian-American man named Abdulrahman Zeitoun and what happened to him when Hurricane Katrina joined forces with the War on Terror to become the ultimate destructive force. I mean, really, how am I even finishing this sentence without picking up this book? It is Calling. My. Name.

And on that note, I’m going to end this post to go and place “Zeitoun” as close to the top of my TBR pile as I can, in hopes of reading it as soon as humanly possible

Source: Personal copy