Upcoming: DeLillo’s Falling Man

May 7, 2007

An intriguing article on Don DeLillo’s upcoming novel Falling Man:

Now, in “Falling Man,” (Scribner, 246 pages, $26), Mr. DeLillo has finally given us his book about September 11. In fact, he has written about that day more directly and concretely than most other novelists have dared. Instead of approaching the attack on the World Trade Center through parable, like Mr. Roth, or analogy, like Mr. Rushdie, or phantasmagoria, like Mr. Pynchon, Mr. DeLillo confronts it head-on, with graphic realism. The novel begins with a prose transcription of the video images we all know so well: “It was not a street anymore but a world, and space of falling ash and near night. He was walking north through rubble and mud and there were people running past holding towels to their faces or jackets over their heads.”

If these opening sentences put the reader there on the “street,” ground-level with events, they also point to Mr. DeLillo’s concern with the “world” those events created. Surprisingly, however, the world that fascinates him is not the shadowy realm of political conspiracies, where so much of his earlier work has flourished. Mr. DeLillo is surprisingly, and happily, untempted by the idea of writing a secret history of September 11. Instead, his new novel is a surprisingly earnest and straightforward inquiry into the emotional effects of the attacks on the lives of victims and survivors.


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