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Reading

City of Refuge

In his new novel, Tom Piazza vividly describes the few days before and after Hurricane Katrina wrought mayhem on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

Book Digest This time around—it being an election year and all—a hurricane’s landfall stole the G.O.P.’s most recent thunder. This time, the threat of another deadly disaster got through to our lame-duck president and the major networks. And obviously New Orleans and the Gulf Coast offer greater visuals than do endless pans over excited, conventioneering Republicans in Minnesota.

Accomplished writer Tom Piazza (My Cold War and Why New Orleans Matters) has penned an illuminating novel, City of Refuge, that vividly describes the few days before and after Hurricane Katrina wrought mayhem on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Using two characters—Craig, a transplanted Midwestern writer, and S.J., a Vietnam veteran deeply rooted in the city of his birth—Piazza not only shows the criminal failure, indifference, and negligence of a long list of agencies and officials, but conjures the horrific and deadly conditions faced by the people of New Orleans during and after Katrina’s havoc. Large-hearted novelist Richard Russo blurbs:
To read City of Refuge is to realize that this is what fiction is for: to take us to places the cameras can’t go. The novel’s characters—and what happens to them—are unforgettable, and so is the portrait of New Orleans, the city Tom Piazza clearly loves with all his large, generous heart.
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