Moira McPartlin's Reviews > Zeitoun

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
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's review
Apr 23, 2012

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Read from April 23 to 24, 2012

This piece of non fiction tells the story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian business man who lives in New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina is on its way and like the majority of citizens his wife leaves the city with his children. He refuses to leave and stays behind to look after this property. He paddles his canoe around the flooded city, rescuing people and feeding dogs. But in a city where anarchy is growing in the wake of disaster the inevitable happens and he is arrested and incarcerated. What is surprising about this story is that the government put more urgency into the preparation for crime than it did into saving trapped residents. They built a make shift jail in the bus station within two days of the storm while people still sat on their roofs waiting for rescue.
Unfortunately the author Dave Eggers did not make a good job of recounting this story. It should have been gripping and shocking, this outrageous treatment of citizens. But the story paddled along on another agenda and in the end I was left with a feeling of anger towards Zeiton who was foolish and naive. He should have left with his family, (his wife and brother begged him daily) rather that thinking he was some designated savior just becasue he happened to own a canoe.

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