A Bracing Portrait Feb 23, 2012
Whatever you thought you knew or understood about New Orleans was incomplete until Dan Baum decided to write this book. Exploring the truncated biographies of a highly diverse group of nine of its citizens as Katrina looms, then strikes, then leaves such well-documented devastation in her wake, Baum teases out each personal tale and layers them like fishnets drying in the sun. His narrative style--reportorial, but infused with a novelist's impressionistic attention to detail--recalls the "New Journalism" that such writers as Tom Wolfe and Truman Capote brought to our attention a generation ago. Whatever label one might attach to Baum's prose, this is an absorbing, dramatic, heart-breaking, and inspiring piece of work, impossible to put down as we work the steps with these unforgettable people. A recording of songs inspired by the people and events in the book was recently released (featuring a who's who of outstanding local artists), and promises to be developed into a stage production. Not to be missed!