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City of refuge : a novel
Piazza, Tom
Adult Fiction PIAZZA

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From Publishers' Weekly:

A passionate ode to the Big Easy's cracked bowl, the latest from Piazza (Why New Orleans Matters) offers two alternating perspectives on Katrina and its aftermath. For Craig Donaldson--a white Michigan transplant who edits local culture organ Gumbo, who has a tidy house near Tulane University and whose two-child marriage appears headed for divorce--Katrina becomes a pressure valve for his own stifled emotions, as Craig rants about the despicable lies of George Bush, the man-made nature of the Katrina disaster, and his own marriage. Much more effective are sections that focus on SJ, a black Vietnam vet and widower from the Lower Ninth Ward, who is taking care of his invalid sister, Lucy, as the hurricane strikes. Craig's and SJ's approaches to evacuation couldn't differ more, and while their competing narratives occasionally illustrate the city's race and class divide a little too schematically, the point that thousands were left to rot is brought home with kinetic intensity. In stark contrast to Craig's bluster--and to some of the stereotypes handed to Lucy's character--SJ's methodical approach to the disaster and his ability to rebound from devastating loss speak volumes. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

In late August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, setting off a catastrophe of flooding, panic, and death on a scale never before been seen in the United States. Piazza (Why New Orleans Matters) recaptures the devastation of that storm and its aftermath through the stories of two families--one black, one white--who are driven from their homes by floodwaters and spend days as evacuees in shelters and on the road, finally ending up in Houston and Chicago, where they try to piece together temporary lives while waiting to see what the future holds. Through the Donaldson and Williams families--their memories, their longings, their determination--Piazza paints a beautiful portrait of the Crescent City, as indefatigable in spirit as its citizens. This emotional novel reads like a memoir, teeming with fear, anger, pathos, hope, determination, and love. It is absolutely essential reading for every American who watched and prayed through those terrible days. Highly recommended for all fiction collections. [This book was just picked for the One Book, One New Orleans program.--Ed.]--Thomas L. Kilpatrick, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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