Wednesday, September 9, 2009

An Author and His City: Tom Piazza, New Orleans, and CITY OF REFUGE


"New Orleans is a city of elegance, beauty, and refinement," Tom Piazza writes in Why New Orleans Matters. "[But] it is also a city of violence, poor education, and such extreme poverty you'd have to see it to believe it."

In his latest novel, City of Refuge, Tom Piazza explores conflicts of race, politics, and socio-economic class set against the background of Hurricane Katrina. This rich and important story about the lives of two families – one black and one white – and the aftermath of the storm, has much to tell about modern America – both her problems and her triumphs.

The author’s relationship with the city is complex, much like his telling of what happened in September 2005. Like some of the characters in his story, he was displaced during the evacuation, having spent time in refugee camps in Mississippi and elsewhere. Thanks to Piazza’s relationship with the city he writes a complex and authentic voice on one of the most important events in recent American history.

To hear the author talk about the city he knows and loves, be sure to check out this NPR interview.

If you’d like to consider City of Refuge for one of your classes, please order a paperback examination copy. If you’ve already assigned the book as a required text, please order a desk copy.

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