A "New York Times "Notable Book
An "O, The Oprah Magazine "Terrific Read of the Year
A "Huffington Post "Best Book of the Year
A "New Yorker "Favorite Book of the Year
A "Chicago Tribune "Favorite Nonfiction Book of the Year
A "Kansas City Star" Best Book of the Year
A "San Francisco Chronicle" Best Book of the Year
An "Entertainment Weekly" Best Book of the Decade
The true story of one family, caught between America's two biggest policy disasters: the war on terror and the response to Hurricane Katrina.
Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun run a house-painting business in New Orleans. In August of 2005, as Hurricane Katrina approaches, Kathy evacuates with their four young children, leaving Zeitoun to watch over the business. In the days following the storm he travels the city by canoe, feeding abandoned animals and helping elderly neighbors. Then, on September 6th, police officers armed with M-16s arrest Zeitoun in his home. Told with eloquence and compassion, Zeitoun is a riveting account of one family's unthinkable struggle with forces beyond wind and water.
"Imagine Charles Dickens, his sentimentality in check but his journalistic eyes wide open, roaming New Orleans after it was buried by Hurricane Katrina. . . . Eggers' 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? . . . It's the stuff of great narrative nonfiction. . . . Fifty years from now, when people want to know what happened to this once-great city during a shameful episode of our history, they will still be talking about a family named Zeitoun." --Timothy Egan, "The New York Times Book Review"
"[A] heartfelt book, so fierce in its fury, so beautiful in its richly nuanced, compassionate telling of an American tragedy, and finally, so sweetly, stubbornly hopeful." --"The Times-Picayune "(New Orleans)
"Zeitoun is a riveting, intimate, wide-scanning, disturbing, inspiring nonfiction account of a New Orleans married couple named Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun who were dragged through their own special branch of Kafkaesque (for once the adjective is unavoidable) hell after Hurricane Katrina. . . . [It's] unmistakably a narrative feat, slowly pulling the reader into the oncoming vortex without literary trickery or theatrical devices, reminiscent of Mailer's "Executioner's Song" but less craftily self-conscious in the exercise of its restraint. Humanistic, that is, in the highest, best, least boring sense of the word." --James Wolcott, "Vanity Fair"
"A major achievement and [Eggers's] best book yet." --"The Miami Herald
"Zeitoun offers a transformative experience to anyone open to it, for the simple reasons that it is not heavy-handed propaganda, not eat-your-peas social analysis, but an adventure story, a tale of suffering and redemption, almost biblical in its simplicity, the trials of a good man who believes in God and happens to have a canoe. Anyone who cares about America, where it is going and where it alm