The title of this national bestseller comes from the name of Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a well-regarded New Orleans house painter and contractor who opted to stay behind to oversee his rental properties when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. Initially, the Syrian–American phoned his wife every day in Baton Rouge, where she had taken refuge with their children, to relate his adventures rowing an aluminum kayak through flooded streets to rescue and feed stranded humans and animals. On the ninth day, however, Zeitoun vanished. Dave Eggers’s riveting account of what happened to this hardworking Muslim immigrant makes it impossible to put the book down. He traveled to Syria to interview Zeitoun’s relatives, and searched for a further two and a half years to discover what happened to Zeitoun as he fell through the cracks of a failed system during the worst natural disaster in modern American history.