Greetings from the Land of Enchantment: Book Review

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Book Review

Falling Man by Don DeLillo

Two of my favorite books are by Don DeLillo: White Noise and Underworld. Both radically different from one another, but brilliant nonetheless. He makes his mark once again as a master of the craft in his new book Falling Man. This lyrical observation of the events and characters surrounding the falling of the Twin Powers reads like a song. Unlike his other books that are profuse--wordy even--this book is thin and subtle, but deep.

Themes of loss--memory, marriage, childhood--thread throughout the narrative. But in a light way--as if the characters were all waltzing. Lightly moving through tragedy. The vacuum created by the towers is mirrored in the lives of these characters -- after the fall. Complete inner and outer worlds fall away.

He doesn't give in to the rhetoric surrounding that period--everything will be different, the kindness of strangers, etc.--although everything is different and his characters become completely "out of character," starting fights with people, abandoning careers, children searching the skies. I found his description of these particular people much more telling about human response to tragedy than the euphemisms that spread about immediately after the fall of the towers.

Haunting images, deftly defined characters, and subtle exploration of life and living--after the fall. Highly recommend.



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