Praise Dave Eggers!
For who would have ever foretold that the novelist who became famous with a self-hagiography of a book with an impossible title ready to be mangled ("A staggering work of heartbreaking genius" no wait: was it "A heartbreaking work of staggering genius"?) could have become one of the most reliable and worth voices coming from the US?
Guys, this is the same chap who wrote a biography of his unfortunate life when he hit 30 years old and later became the editor of an independent magazine printed down in Iceland and inexplicably shipped to the US (or so I heard).
A novelist who was easy to christen as a champion of exaggerated self-esteem and complete lack of any modesty.
And yet this same Dave Eggers who failed the proof of the 2nd novel delivering the interlocutory "You Shall Know Our Velocity" was able to write down at least two gems of books like "What Is the What" and "Zeitoun". Two books that are actually ripen fruits not only of the same tree but of the very same branch called "Voice of Witness".
Two stories that before being written and published and read and reviewed were lived and told and listened and jotted down.
Because both "What Is the What" and "Zeitoun" began in the same way with Mr Eggers visiting someone who had a story to tell. A process that took hours, days, weeks and months of oral narration and patient listening skills before developing into a proper book.
You will get what "Zeitoun" is about by other reviews here and around, but let's say that this book revolves around the life of a man and his family being stricken by hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Where the aftermath is actually the worst part of the tragedy having to cope not with the violence of nature but with the arrogance and stupidity of human beings especially those wearing a uniform.
Nothing is perfect and this book has its pros and cons too, but as a matter of fact "Zeitoun" deserves, requires, asks for being read. And I am glad I did it.