Two recollections especially mark Cohen. The first is the tragedy that befalls Cohen and his wife, Elisa, as they attempt to evacuate the coast during a maelstrom. Smith writes, “On the asphalt of Highway 49, underneath an eighteen-wheeler, surrounded by screams of those who were running for it as they had all seen them coming, the handful of tornadoes breaking free from the still black clouds, like snakes slithering down from the sky, moving toward the hundreds, thousands of gridlocked cars that were only trying to do what they had been told to do.” As the tornadoes close in on the couple and explode “through the bodies and the cars and the trucks, metal and flesh” fly in all directions. Cohen, powerless at that moment, can only watch as his wife and unborn daughter die, a scene that makes for emotional reading. The other memory from which Cohen cannot escape and returns to time and again throughout the narrative is his reminiscence of a vacation he and Elisa once took to Venice, Italy. One cannot help but compare Venice, the floating city, to New Orleans, itself a precarious metropolis that features into the story. These vignettes offer greater insight into Cohen’s mindset.