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Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

Zeitoun (2009)

by Dave Eggers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,3971622,323 (4.07)321
  1. 60
    What Is the What by Dave Eggers (jmarsico)
  2. 10
    A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Neufeld's compelling graphic novel depicts the effects of Hurricane Katrina through the true stories of seven of the city's residents.
  3. 10
    1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina by Chris Rose (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: A columnist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Rose delves into the aftereffects of the storm on his adopted city in this compelling collection of essays.
  4. 21
    Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans by Dan Baum (bdav1818)
  5. 10
    Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink (TooBusyReading)
    TooBusyReading: Both books are fascinating and heartbreaking looks at how much went wrong as Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.
  6. 00
    Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: Story of the hurricane in Galveston in 1900 resulting in unexpected and devastating flooding
  7. 00
    A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster by Rebecca Solnit (Othemts)
  8. 00
    Proved Innocent by Gerry Conlon (Othemts)
  9. 00
    The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim Defede (LynnB)
    LynnB: Story of ordinary people, like Mr. Zeitoun, who made a difference.
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    The Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Greg Palast (Othemts)

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» See also 321 mentions

English (153)  Dutch (5)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (161)
Showing 1-5 of 153 (next | show all)
This account held my attention, perhaps because I hadn't previously read any personal accounts of someone who had been present during the Katrina hurricane disaster in New Orleans.
Eggers focuses on one couple: Zeitoun and Kathy, beginning with scenes from their younger years which help us understand their strengths, values, and relationship. This is mixed in with events later, but each section is clearly identified by a date header so I had no difficulty following. We understand that Zeitoun's choice was rooted in his family history of being the best one can be, and that he had the skills and strength to remain behind and take care of his neighborhood and properties. And then events go madly awry as National Guardsmen assume he is a looter or worse, because of his Middle Eastern appearance.
Some chapters give an overview of events while others go into the specific details so at times I felt like I had read something before, but that technique did help to reinforce important points.
More than just an account of how a children and parents were affected by the separation caused by evacuation and the ways in which some rescue relief efforts were sidetracked by agendas of hate and greed, it is an exposition of how the US governmental system was incompetent in ensuring justice was carried out. ( )
  juniperSun | Dec 2, 2018 |
I saw that this book was chosen as the 2012 Big Read for Dayton, OH. When I explored the topic of the book, my curiosity was piqued. Having heard about the devastating results of Hurricane Katrina, I was interested in reading a direct account from a survivor of the disaster. Following the Zeitoun family through the trauma of the hurricane and its aftermath definitely brings the reader close to the tragedy brought on not only by weather but by humans and bureaucracy. ( )
  Rdglady | Nov 20, 2018 |
This is a very powerful book. I really can't say enough good things about it. Everyone should read it. ( )
  bibliosk8er | Aug 16, 2018 |
Put down Matterhorn to read this for BookClub. Interesting juxtaposition of the jungles of Vietnam and the 3rd world country New Orleans became in the aftermath of Katrina. You've heard the horror stories of Katrina, but this is one family's personal tale, and it is not pretty! ( )
1 vote Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
Did I really "enjoy" this story of a man's life as devastated by the forces of unchecked, wrongheaded, paranoid might that wrought as much havoc in New Orleans as the hurricane herself? I don't think that "enjoy" is the verb I need--perhaps "need" is the better term. I think that I buried my head in the sand in the wake of Katrina and the government's meat-fisted manipulation of the the aftermath, so the book was enlightening as to one family's grave misfortune.

A few reviewers complained that the text was dry and spare, but I believe that the purpose of the even tone was twofold. First, as the protagonist is Syrian in post-9/11 America, there seems to be an effort to eschew inflammatory language or structure. There is a particularly poignant passage near the end when Zeitoun arrives (at long last) at disillusionment with his country. "This country was not unique. This country was fallible. Mistakes were being made. He was a mistake. In the grand scheme of the country's blind, grasping fight against threats seen and unseen, there would be mistakes made. Innocents would be suspected. Innocents would be imprisoned." (p. 273) Second, the straightforward tone of the text belies and hence amplifies the peril of the hurricane, its burdens on New Orleans and its occupants(people, pets, ecology), and the egregious missteps of the government. "Zeitoun and Nasser did not discuss the possibility that they would not be released from prison for many months, or even years. But they were both thinking it--that no one knew where they were, which afforded the authorities, whoever it was who wanted to them kept here, complete and unchecked power to keep them detained and hidden indefinitely." (p. 263)

I will recommend that all of my students who read Cory Doctorow's "Little Brother" read Zeitoun as well, as the latter provides a startlingly real-life counter to Doctorow's often similar fictional tale. I think that I need to go to New Orleans now. Anyone else?

( )
  msmilton | Jul 18, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 153 (next | show all)
'Zeitoun was sterk', schrijft Dave Eggers in zijn verwoestend mooie boek Zeitoun. 'Hij had nog nooit zo'n gevoel van urgentie en vastberadenheid gehad. (...) Er was een reden, wist hij nu, waarom hij was achtergebleven in de stad. Hij had zich gedwongen gevoeld om te blijven, door een kracht die hij niet kende. Hij was nodig.'De eerste helft van dit zonder opsmuk geschreven non-fictie boek heeft iets van een sprookje.
De details die de auteur heeft opgediept, maken dit boek tot een meesterwerk. In de postmoderne romancier Eggers bleek een verslaggever van het zuiverste water schuil te gaan, een observator met een gouden pen.
In “Zeitoun,” what Dave Eggers has found in the Katrina mud is the full-fleshed story of a single family, and in telling that story he hits larger targets with more punch than those who have already attacked the thematic and historic giants of this disaster. It’s the stuff of great narrative nonfiction.
"Zeitoun" is a warm, exciting and entirely fresh way of experiencing Hurricane Katrina.

Eggers' sympathy for Zeitoun is as plain and real as his style in telling the man's story. He doesn't try to dazzle with heartbreaking pirouettes of staggering prose; he simply lets the surreal and tragic facts speak for themselves.

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dave Eggersprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bijnsdorp, MaaikeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schaap, LucieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sumpter, RachellCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Timmermann, KlausÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wasel, UlrikeÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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...in the history of the world it might even be that there was more punishment than crime...
Cormac McCarthy, The Road

To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
Mark Twain
For Abdulrahman, Kathy, Zachary, Nademah, Aisha, Safiya, and Ahmad in New Orleans.

For Ahmad, Antonia, Lutfi, and Laila in Málaga.

For Kousay, Nada, Mahmoud, Zakiya, Luay, Eman, Fahzia, Fatimah, Aisha, Munah, Nasibah, and all the Zeitouns of Jableh, Lattakia, and Arwad Island.

For the people of New Orleans.
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On moonless nights the men and boys of Jableh, a dusty fishing town on the coast of Syria, would gather their lanterns and set out in their quietest boats.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, longtime New Orleans residents Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun are cast into an unthinkable struggle with forces beyond wind and water. In the days after the storm, Abdulrahman traveled the flooded streets in a secondhand canoe, passing on supplies and helping those he could. A week later, on September 6, 2005, Zeitoun abruptly disappeared-- arrested and accused of being an agent of al Qaeda.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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