Coming just on the heels of twindie (twee + indie) movie Away We Go, the film's co-writer Dave Eggers is releasing a new book. It's a non-fiction tome called Zeitoun, following a Muslim-American family during and after Hurricane Katrina.
Eggers recently sat down with a friend who writes for The Rumpus, and the two had a discussion about the book—its politics, its technique, and its similarities (and dissimilarities) to his previous people-under-duress meta-non-fiction, What Is the What. The most important thing? Zeitoun (which comes out early next month) is firmly a work of non-fiction, with none of the creative blending we saw in What:
With a book like this, I think you get the most accuracy when you involve your subjects as much as possible. I think I sent the manuscript to the Zeitouns for six or seven reads. They caught little inaccuracies each time. They have to live with the book, of course, as much as I do, so I needed their approval. With What Is The What and with this book, I consider the book as much theirs as mine. So they were intimately involved in every step, as were their extended families. We had many months to get everyone's approval over everything, to make sure it was accurate.
So that's that. Eggers is setting up a non-profit for the book like he did with What, through which all proceeds from the book will be given to the ongoing (and ailing) Katrina relief effort.