Fiction: City of Refuge, by Tom Piazza

Bought after reading about it at the Tournament of Books (where it made it to the final round but lost to Toni Morrison’s latest).

There are really three storylines here: Craig and his middle-class white family; SJ and his lower-class black family; and the historical facts of Hurricane Katrina. They pretty much trade off chapters throughout and in the beginning of the book, I definitely found the “fact” chapters a bit distracting; taking me away from the action to just recite numbers. But toward the end of the book, I found them a welcome emotional relief; a way to ground yourself in the reality of how many people this actually happened to.

I thought it was a great book, perhaps made more weighty by being woven in to such a recent past. The characters and their struggles with moving on vs turning back felt very real to me.

Clearly Piazza loves New Orleans, and continues to struggle with the thought of his city in destruction. Huffencoopers, have you read this yet? I think you’d love it.

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