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Keith Neudecker, a lawyer and survivor of the attack, arrives on his estranged wife Lianne's doorstep, covered with soot and blood, carrying someone else's briefcase. In the days and weeks that follow, moments of connection alternate with complete withdrawl from his wife and young son, Justin. He begins a desultory affair with the owner of the briefcase based only on their shared experience of surviving: "the timeless drift of the long spiral down." Justin uses his binoculars to scan the skies with his friends, looking for "Bill Lawton" (a misunderstood version of bin Laden) and more killing planes. Lianne suddenly sees Islam everywhere: in a postcard from a friend, in a neighbor's music--and is frightened and angered by its ubiquity. She is riveted by the Falling Man. Her mother Nina's response is to break up with her long-time German lover over his ancient politics. In short, the old ways and days are gone forever; a new reality has taken over everyone's consciousness. This new way is being tried on, and it doesn't fit. Keith and Lianne weave into reconciliation. Keith becomes a professional poker player and, when questioned by Lianne about the future of this enterprise, he thinks: "There was one final thing, too self-evident to need saying. She wanted to be safe in the world and he did not."
DeLillo also tells the story of Hammad, one of the young men in flight training on the Gulf Coast, who says: "We are willing to die, they are not. This is our srength, to love death, to feel the claim of armed martyrdom." He also asks: "But does a man have to kill himself in order to accomplish something in the world?" His answer is that he is one of the hijackers on the plane that strikes the North Tower.
At the end of the book, De Lillo takes the reader into the Tower as the plane strikes the building. Through all the terror, fire and smoke, De Lillo's voice is steady as a metronome, recounting exactly what happens to Keith as he sees friends and co-workers maimed and dead, navigates the stairs and, ultimately, is saved. Though several post-9/11 novels have been written, not one of them is as compellingly true, faultlessly conceived, and beautifully written as Don De Lillo's Falling Man. --Valerie Ryan
This novel is a rather halting and not very satisfying attempt to capture the impact of 9/11 on immediate survivors and their families.
DeLillo peppers his novels with fictional characters, well rounded and believable, and stirs historical figures into the mix to center his story in reality.
DeLillo's elliptical and veering style of having different characters narrate throughout left this reader with no real coherent narrative.
Since he is a lifelong New Yorker and keenly interested in terrorism and media spectacles, Don DeLillo could be expected to write a novel about September 11. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Christopher Culver
Was an intriguing read throughout. Sometimes I felt a bit lost and confused....things got a bit too circuitous for too long and parts felt like it was dragging. Read morePublished 4 months ago by H.W.
In the panorama of late 20th century American life, captured in Don DeLillo's Underworld, amidst baseball games, New York City, art exhibits, relationships, violence, graffiti... Read morePublished 6 months ago by J Swink
This novel taps into the juxtaposition of disconnection and togetherness that Americans felt after 9/11. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Jennifer
The book was listed as new, but it was not as crisp as if it really was new. There appears to be some wear with the bent corners especially. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Kenneth A. Anderson
A beautifully written and intelligent novel of the aftermath of 9/11 for people living in NYC. Heads above most of the novels written by so-called writers of best sellers today.Published 9 months ago by peg
a brilliant author captures the fragmentation of 9/11 in very human terms. memories of people falling from the twin towers and the horror are vibrantly horrific.Published 9 months ago by Ms. Natalie Robinson Garfield