“A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge” by Josh Neufeld

After Dave Eggers’ Zeitoun, I wanted to read Josh Neufeld’s graphic “novel” (narrative, I’d say), A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, which depicts New Orleans and some of its inhabitants before, during and long after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Neufeld was a Red Cross volunteer in the aftermath of the hurricane, and began by chronicling his experiences online, which eventually led to this book.

The city itself is almost a character, since the book begins with the storm before it moves into the people. There are seven main characters in a rotation of five stories. They have different ages, ethnicities and religions. Some left; some stayed. Some returned; some did not.

A.D. New Orleans shows, in pictures and text, an up-close reality very unlike the lawless chaos the media was so eager to emphasize. As with Zeitoun, the personal is political, and the specifics point to universalities. This book makes it all too easy, and decidedly uncomfortable, to imagine oneself in one (or several) of the characters’ shoes. Highly recommended.

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