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Dave Eggers heading to L.A.

August 12, 2009 | 10:54 am

Daveeggers_2002 Author, publisher and literary nonprofit guy Dave Eggers is heading to Los Angeles to read from his new book, "Zeitoun." He'll be at Skylight Books in Los Feliz on Aug. 20 at 7:30 p.m.

"Zeitoun" is a nonfiction book that follows Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian American, who chose to stay in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. And then, as they say, there's more.

It's not the first book to use individual stories to delve into -- and look at the bigger issues around -- Hurricane Katrina. One notable novel is Tom Piazza's "City of Refuge," which climbed to the finals of the Morning News' Tournament of Books in March. Monica Ali wrote, "It paints on a big canvas in the most vivid detail, it’s passionate and yet restrained, and it tells a story that needs to be heard."

Hitting shelves next week is Josh Neufeld's "A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge." Originally serialized by Smith magazine, it follows seven New Orleans residents before, during and after Katrina -- and it's a graphic novel. As he was putting the finishing touches on the book, Neufeld told L.A. Times comics blog Hero Complex that he was aware of the other high-profile narratives of the storm: "It's a history that I hope can stand alongside a canon of work that includes Michael Eric Dyson’s 'Come Hell or High Water'; Douglas Brinkley’s 'The Great Deluge'; Spike Lee’s 'When the Levees Broke'; or Tia Lessin, Carl Deal and Kimberly Rivers Roberts’ 'Trouble the Water.' "

Michael Eric Dyson has blurbed Eggers'  book. He writes:

"Zeitoun" is an instant American classic carved from fierce eloquence and a haunting moral sensibility. By wrestling with the demons of xenophobia and racial profiling that converged in the swirling vortex of Hurricane Katrina and post-9/11 America, Eggers lets loose the angels of wisdom and courage that hover over the lives of the beleaguered, but miraculously unbroken, Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun.

Eggers told the Rumpus, "I still have that instinct that says to follow a story if it seems like it hasn’t been fully told." He ended up following this one from New Orleans to Syria. And next week he's bringing it to Los Angeles. 

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Dave Eggers signing at Book Soup in 2002. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times