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Saturday, September 12, 2009

9/11 Novels

Terrible events often trigger great art as artists contemplate their life in its aftermath. 9/11 is no different. Yesterday, The Daily Beast gave us their opinion on the 3 9/11 novels which they feel will stand the test of time. One is Netherland, which I did not enjoy and wrote about here.

I agree with their other 2 choices, but if I had made the list it would be:
  1. In the Shadow of No Towers by Art Spiegelman: Spiegelman watched the towers fall from the roof of his Brooklyn home and has been quoting as saying he went to his work table for the next few weeks, drawing and writing, while he waited for the world to end. Thankfully, the world kept going and Spiegelman shared his work with us.
  2. Falling Man by Don DeLillo: In this novel, DeLillo follows one man who worked in the towers and escaped as he tries to heal from the experience. The novel's disjointed construction adds to the feeling of unease which permeates the characters as they struggle to continue to live "normally" in the first few months after 9/11.
  3. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. A young boy whose father dies in the towers on 9/11 finds a key and a cryptic note in his father's closet. The journey he takes is as much about finding the key's owner as it is about finding his place in a post 9/11 world without his father. And don't miss the last few pages, which are a flip book of a man falling from the towers. It goes backwards; he is falling up to safety. It is very powerful.
So those are The Daily Beast's 3 and my 3. What are we leaving out? Let me know.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Though I have not read any
9/11 fiction, I have read
a great deal of non-fiction
books on the subject and
would like to recommend two.

First, The Looming Tower: Al-
Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by
Lawrence Wright. This Pulitzer
Prize winning book details
the history of Islamic terror-
ism and how it brought about
an atomosphere that made those
attacks possible.

Secondly,102 Minutes:The Un-
forgettable Story of the Fight
to Survive Inside the Twin
Towers by Jim Dwyer. Told
from the perspective of those
people trying to get out of
the towers, this book's
persosonal accounts are grip-