Sunday, June 24, 2007

Book Review: The Falling Man

I've always been torn on Don Delillo. I know I am supposed to herald him as a genius, bow, and kiss his feet, but I just can't do it. I finally got around to reading White Noise a few years ago, and let me just say, "meh". My main problem with him is the fact that his characters in that book were never fleshed out past what he really wanted them to say. Some of the things that fall out their mouths is just a very flimsy cover for what the author wants to express.

That continued with Falling Man which is Don Delillo's stab at capturing 9/11 on paper. The title comes from the disturbing picture of the unnamed banker plunging to death off the World Trade Center. The book follows a man and his family after he survives the attacks and stumbles back home to his ex wife.

I can't say I didn't enjoy the book. It is quite beautifully written and it kind of all floats out like a dream. Going in I should have just realized this was going to be Don Delillo's 200 page poem/essay about the attacks. The most realized character in the book is actually Mohamed Atta, the supposed ring leader of the terrorists. The interesting parts of the book are about his preparation and horrifying deconstruction of life leading up to the attacks drawn against the main characters deconstruction of life after 9/11. Delillo amazingly and sort of hilariously draws some interesting parallels between fundamentalist Islam and playing poker (yes Rob, you hate freedom).

So, can I recommend it? Yes I guess I can. As long as you realized it isn't really a novel and more just a thesis about the state of America after the start of the "War on Terror".

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