Dave Eggers: 'Zeitoun'


Dave Eggers has written, famously, about his own life. He’s written about real lives in Sudan. Now he’s written about a life in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

When Katrina hit New Orleans, Abdulrahman Zeitoun stayed in the city to care for his business and properties. He paddled down flooded streets in a canoe, helping stranded survivors and feeding abandoned dogs — until he was arrested and held without explanation in a makeshift prison.

It’s the story of a solitary man trying to take care of his neighbors and family, a man who enters a nightmare world of cages, armed guards, and abuse.

This hour, On Point: Dave Eggers and the true story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun.

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Dave Eggers joins us from San Francisco. He’s the founder of the independent publishing house McSweeney’s and author of several works of fiction and nonfiction, including the story collection “How We Are Hungry,” the novel “You Shall Know Our Velocity!,” the fictionalized memoir “What Is the What,”  and the memoir “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.” He co-wrote the film “Away We Go,” released earlier this summer, as well as the upcoming film adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are,” to be released in October. He’s co-founder of 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring organization for kids up to age 18.  His new book is “Zeitoun.” You can read excerpts here and here.

Abdulrahman Zeitoun joins us from New Orleans. He’s owner of Zeitoun A. Painting Contractors. He stayed in New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina hit to take care of his business and properties, and was arrested and held in Camp Greyhound, the makeshift prison set up in the early days after the storm.

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