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Falling Man Paperback – January 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner, 2007; First Edition edition (2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739490451
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416557210
  • ASIN: 1416557210
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 4.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,847,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Don DeLillo is the author of fourteen novels, including Falling Man, Libra and White Noise, and three plays. He has won the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the Jerusalem Prize. In 2006, Underworld was named one of the three best novels of the last twenty-five years by The New York Times Book Review, and in 2000 it won the William Dean Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters for the most distinguished work of fiction of the past five years.

Customer Reviews

This novel is a rather halting and not very satisfying attempt to capture the impact of 9/11 on immediate survivors and their families.
J. Grattan
Never one to quit in the middle of a book unless it's absolutely excruciating, though, I held on to the end, at which point I felt I got a bit of a payoff.
S.R.W. Phillips
DeLillo's elliptical and veering style of having different characters narrate throughout left this reader with no real coherent narrative.
Susan I. Cohen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Silberstein on June 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book very much, having enjoyed some of Don DeLillo's other novels. A couple things to know about this book:

1. This is not mainstream fiction. DeLillo uses his own conventions and the conventions of postmodern fiction to great extent.

2. This novel is not primarily a retelling of the events of 9/11. Rather, it is an exploration of the mindset of New Yorkers (and one European) after 9/11, how this particular watershed event changed people's worldview.

3. This is not a political work. It does not seek to espouse any political point of view.

That being said, I very much liked this book. I found it very chilling at some points, and difficult to read. I found myself dealing with emotions I had not felt since the days just after 9/11 (deftly referred to in the novel as 'since the planes'), and an exploration much different from the film United 93.

I did feel some of the characters were hollow, but that is kind of typical of DeLillo's storytelling style. Characters in DeLillo works tend to be people to whom things happen, reactors as opposed to actors. I felt that this helped enhance the feelings of some of the characters in this work, accentuating the helplessness and fear I know I certainly felt in the wake of 9/11.

While the book does deal directly with the events of 9/11 (those were some of the most emotionally difficult to read), it is primarily an exploration of the 'post-9/11' world. In this, I feel it succeeds, and is a brilliant work.
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Ryan P. Dowd on June 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
There exists an event in each of our pasts that haunts all of our potential futures. "Falling Man" explores one such event that we are all connected to, some directly (like those in the Towers or in NYC or DC or in an airport, etc.) and others who experienced it on television, in the papers, on the radio. We all have individual memories of what happened, where we were, how it affected us. Yet we continually share the experience repetitively through a collective memory comprised of images on TV, photographs of the planes striking the towers, overheard conversations in restaurants or subways, images of the pristine towers in a longshot from an older movie or television program, etc. In some ways the events of 9/11 define us as individuals and in some ways the events define us all.

This book made me think about myself in ways that few books do. I didn't so much imagine "walking in the shoes" of the characters so much as I thoughtfully considered their actions and reactions in search of some understanding, or empathy. Actions and behaviors that would otherwise appear selfish, Delillo exposes as superficial manifestations of penetrating emotional wounds. It is not always our actions that define who we "are," but rather the events in our lives that shape the consciousness and identity from which our actions result. In "Falling Man", Lianne is not obsessed with the degradation of her own memories (or potential onset of Alzheimer's) as one could conclude. Instead, Delillo gives us the opportunity to see Lianne as a woman traumatized by her father's suicide, which had been prompted by a seemingly rapid onset of Alzheimer's while Lianne was in college.
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48 of 57 people found the following review helpful By J. Grattan VINE VOICE on June 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This novel is a rather halting and not very satisfying attempt to capture the impact of 9/11 on immediate survivors and their families. Keith Neudecker, a lawyer on an upper floor of the first tower, covered in soot and blood inexplicably finds his way to his estranged wife Lianne's door. Whatever their differences, apparently grateful for his survival, all seems to be forgiven as Keith is allowed to recover at his own pace with no demands placed. Their precocious yet reticent son Justin is engaged in a never understood game with the Siblings, brother and sister neighbors, looking for Bill Lawton, aka Bin Laden. In addition, Lianne makes regular treks to her art professor mother Nina's apartment where she also engages with her mother's secretive art collector lover Martin.

The book consists of rapidly shifting, mostly short, disconnected scenarios involving these characters. The book in essence mirrors the disorientation undoubtedly felt by those who endured the 9/11 catastrophe. Whether intentional or not, the characters exhibit limited emotional range, unable to fully engage with life. One exception is the intimate connection that Keith makes with fellow survivor Florence when he returns her briefcase, which inadvertently wound up in his hands as he stumbled down the stairs of the tower, a week later, though he had not known her pre 9/11. The device of interspersing a "falling man," mimicking those who were forced to jump from the towers, jumping from structures in full public view with a concealed harness to stop his fall is unnecessary.

Overall the book, the story, and the characters are lacking in capturing post 9/11 life. Keith becomes ever more detached as he winds up living a reduced life playing five-card stud in Las Vegas with the pretence of maintaining a relationship with his wife and son. Given the backdrop of 9/11, the expectation is for a fuller, more meaningful account. As it is, life is excessively bleak in the author's post 9/11 world.
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