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A Season of Night 

"There is nothing so exhilarating as to be shot at without result," said Winston Churchill in The Story of the Malakand Field Force, an account of his military service in a border war in India. It also sums up the spirit of A Season of Night: New Orleans Life After Katrina by Ian McNulty, who also serves as Gambit Weekly's restaurant critic. The book is an awestruck account beginning with his return to his flooded Mid-City home on a skiff, after the city had been evacuated but before citizens were officially allowed back. At a time when national attention focused on the levees and political stage, McNulty was checking in on the more mundane landmarks of the city's former daily grind. It's the less than monumental moments that people took solace in during the worst of times that often best capture what it was like to live in a city that measured its future in mere days and weeks. He chronicles everything from bringing ice into the city to help out his favorite bar to buying a gun for the first time. Determined to move back into his home before electricity or gas utilities were restored to his neighborhood, he weathered the elements and solitude of fall 2005. McNulty's account is compelling because he both lived through and reported on the limbo-like transition from triage to healing. His fight to bring life back to his empty block and city is what gives the book a moving sense of struggle and determination. Anyone who also lived through it will appreciate his account of how much effort can go into even the most modest of small steps forward and how satisfying that could feel. McNulty reads from and signs his book twice this week. Free admission. — Will Coviello

5:30 p.m. Thu., July 10

Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania St., 895-2266

2 p.m. Sun., July 13

Finn McCool's Irish Pub, 3701 Banks St., 486-9080

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