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The Smoke Week: Sept. 11-21, 2001 Paperback – October 2, 2003
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"Her account is more intimate and real than any other I have come across." -- Robert Canzoneri, author of A Highly Ramified Tree
"Here is Witness. Here is Testimony." -- Maxine Hong Kingston
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Top Customer Reviews
Ellis Avery's THE SMOKE WEEK is an incredibly immediate account of some ordinary New Yorkers grappling with the WTC attacks and their aftermath. The book describes the smells and sounds of a city filled with death and destruction, how people struggle to make sense of an unprecedented experience, their painful return to some normalcy, their confusion about how the US should respond.
Told almost completely without hindsight, the book grabs us with its poetry. It delivers concrete experience, sensation, perception. Avery doesn't explain, predict or preach: she bears witness using images and metaphors of great power and beauty.
This is a beautiful and moving account of ugly times. I've noticed that people who make each other's acquaintance for the first time post-9/11/01 soon need to trade stories of where they were that day. It seems that we still need to return to that day and understand it from an individual point of view. This book is a chance to read one person's story -- a representative story, but told with unique grace. If you can bear to read only one book about September 11th, read this one.
I see a bumper sticker sometimes in San Francisco: STAY HUMAN. The pressure, nowadays, in the jingoistic frenzy of the so-called "war on terror," is to become something else, "patriots" or "dissidents," or some other super-charged category. But Avery's book is a reminder that, on September 11, 2001, the people in downtown New York weren't just "America Under Attack," or some other hollow slogan; her prose makes you see something like the human experience of that day. That's no small achievement; and I can't recommend this book enough.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful book. This book brings back memories from that horrific week. While I was in Atl and could only imagine and empathize, I could have never imagined living in NYC during... Read morePublished on March 27, 2012 by purplegirl22
This is a beautiful book of lyrical diary entries from Sept. 11 and the ensuing week. The writer is deeply thoughtful and compassionate; an epicure and a true lover of New York... Read morePublished on June 5, 2009 by Natania Rosenfed
I completely agree with the other reviewers that this book is *not* one of those "let's celebrate the heroes" books about the World Trade Center Attacks. Read morePublished on December 9, 2003