The Submission Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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|Listening Length||12 hours and 47 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||February 27, 2013|
|Publisher||Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd|
|Best Sellers Rank||
#416,344 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
#18,324 in Literary Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#215,723 in Literary Fiction (Books)
Top reviews from the United States
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In the process of doing this, Ms. Waldman also describes two competing designs that I found compelling. Did she really think themselves up herself or work with a professional architect to fill in the details? For the reader, it doesn't matter. Ultimately, details of the content of one of those designs drive the whole novel. The book would not get off the ground if she had not begun with a design that was worthy of the reader's attention and simultaneously could support a broad range of plausible views about it. Without these conflicting views, we would not have a novel.
Now my principal reservations. First and foremost, the characters do not feel genuinely alive to me. I see them in motion. I understand (I hope!) the subtlety of their views and how those views drive their actions. And with only a couple of exceptions, I find their motivations, their actions, and the responses to them by others plausible. But I never feel like they are fully present as independent actors. Rather, they feel like foils who appear mainly to deliver the panoply of perspectives that make the novel so compelling as a scenario.
Second, I repeatedly feel like the author is telling me what is happening and why rather than showing me the action and letting me develop my own inner version of the story. I think this concern is related to my first. It is hard to get inside a character when you are repeatedly told what's inside rather being shown.
So. Not serious literature. But clearly written. And it provides a depth of insight on a public policy topic that continues to be near the center of American political discourse. I hope it motivates many vigorous discussions. And maybe even elevates our civic culture a bit in the process. Thank you, Ms. Waldman, for a book well worth reading and sharing with friends.
The novel looks at the reaction to this event from many different perspectives -- those of politicos, those of relatives of the 9/11 victims, those of American Muslims of several different stripes, and those of the architect himself. Some of the motivations are a little vague, and some of the characters a little flat, but the author has rejected the temptation (with her major characters, at least) to provide characterization in lieu of characters. Some reviewers have noted that it is hard to like any of the characters very much, but I did get more and more interested in them as the novel proceeded -- particularly in the character of the architect.
Some of the difficulty in liking the characters may be because this is in large part a novel of ideas, rather than a novel of characters pure and simple. The characters aren't simple, and the issues are still very much alive. In a recent exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York on New York Activism, the last section was devoted to post 9/11 anti-Muslim and pro-Muslim activism. It is only too clear that the issue has not yet been resolved.
The book has a lot of good insights and thoughts about America's poor treatment of that culture after the attack, our arrogance afterward. "The attack made everyone afraid of appearing unpatriotic, of questioning government, leaders. Fear has justified war, torture, secrecy, all kinds of violations of rights and liberties." And America is still paying that price.
However, the book itself failed to deliver anything but annoyance. The characters, even the ones you should've been rooting for, were all so unlikeable! And those are the ones you remembered. The character development was just awful in general, which made the book no fun to read. I do not recommend.
Top reviews from other countries
On closer reflection I think the key problem for me was that I didn’t “buy in” to the dilemma. I feel that the novel was supposed to challenge the reader by dividing loyalties but my view was pretty clear from the start so while I appreciated the exploration of the different perspectives, I didn’t find that these had any particular impact on how I saw things.
While on the face of it this was a novel about fear and relationships after the September 11th attacks, there also seemed to be a strong undercurrent of criticism of the press and the way it can manipulate and distort public opinion. While this was strongly expressed I don’t think it presented anything new.
All of this said, what keeps the novel interesting is the wish to find out what the eventual outcome is – whether a memorial is ever built and if so, what design is chosen. This kept me reading and there are some unexpected twists. Overall though, I had hoped for more from this novel.
There is a danger in topical books like this that the characters become just a vehicle for various sides of the debate; however, Waldman's excellent writing, sharp descriptions, and (for the most part) well-rounded characters made this a very enjoyable book.
I think one has to be in the right mood to read "The Submission" as sometimes all the arguments regarding religion, nationality, and allegiance, can be wearying to read or (as intended) provoke anger at the seemingly intractable factions within the USA. At other times, however, Waldman makes you sympathize unexpectedly with various unsympathetic characters, and causes you to feel frustrated at those who you know are in the right. I closed the book feeling stimulated, provoked, and rather sad.
All i'd say is buy it now and book two days off work! you will not regret it.I'd lend you mine but showering and reading don't mix ¬!