August 23, 2009


It is 2:48pm and I have been reading since about 7 am. Just last night I sent a friend an email stating that the new Dave Eggers book was off to a slow start. One sitting and 337 pages later, I think it is safe to say it picks up steam.

I am a sucker for demarcating unique and carefully crafted prose in the books I read. Highlighter in hand, I scour books for passages that may somehow be of use to me at later times, and Eggers has always been provided me with page after page of highlight worthy prose, but his latest book Zeitoun is different. I read all day and nary a page was marked.

In Zeitoun, Eggers subtly removes himself from the story. The language is concise, crisp, journalistic, and inconspicuous. There is little emotion, embellishment, or superfluities of any kind. Instead he unfolds an economic, yet beautifully told story of the failures of the US government in the wake of Hurricane Katrina through the experience of one family.

This book will not wow you with its complexity, but rather it will engross you with its simplicity. While the book lacks expressive prose, the experiences it narrates will have you shaking your head in disbelief.

A timeless story of loss, anger, and hope. Dave Eggers proves once again that as a writer he is merely a voice of the voiceless. I am glad to see, once again, that anything he touches turns to gold.

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