News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective
4th February 2010

Kafka in New Orleans

posted in Books, Sports |

In light (a poet’s light, that is) of the upcoming Super Bowl in New Orleans, Paul posts on RichardHowe.com about Zeitoun, a book by Dave Eggers that tells the story of a man who stayed behind after Katrina. I have been thinking about this book lately because I was also reading The Trial, by Franz Kafka and found eerie similarities between them. Of course, Kafka wrote surreal fiction and Egger’s narrative is about what actually happened to Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian-American Muslim, but the sense of bureaucracy gone astray with devastating consequences is the same. Kafka, of course, prefigured much of the horrors of the 20th century in his dread-filled, often bleakly humorous works, but Zeitoun’s story is true and happened here. That’s what is so frightening. Check it out, if you wish to see what the unchecked power of the federal government can do to the individual. The word “Kafkaesque” can be applied here. I also recommend Spike Lee’s documentary:When the Levees Broke for an edgy, in-your-face depiction of the disaster. Sorry, Pats fans, but I’m glad the Saints are in – New Orleans needs the boost and, it gives us all a fresh chance to turn our thoughts to what happened there.

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