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I think like anyone, 9:11 capitivated me. I think like most people apart from a few mad Americans who actually want to be at war, I’m fed up of hearing about it.

I’m not interested in conspiracies or recreations or tragic tales. So why did I read
this book then? Perhaps I am interested after all? – Maybe, those wierd days, when we kept being told ‘The world is different now,’ those odd few hours, when it was all but impossible to work out was going on did require some reflection upon.

Now, Delillo – hmm, I read Underworld, and thought it half a book of staggering insight and half a bit dull. Some of his other stuff is, well, pretentious.

And I like pretention, but well, I dunno, Dellilo seems sometimes like, pre packaged philosophising and all grand, over – blown conclusions where none really, actually exist. His characters seem to spend a lot of time coming to giant realisations about the nature of life and being and I can’t help wondering if either

 a)Mr D likes to show off

or 

b) Mr D’s readers like to see themselves as quite intelligent and his characters provide a few thoughts for them to pass of as their own moments of epiphany.

Whichever, what I liked about ‘The Falling Man’ was it was refreshingly free of wisdom and rather full of what Mr D does best, which is – description . I wish more writers would realise that plot, actually is vastly over rated and deliver instead, the kind of detailed evocations of mundanity that masage the visual parts of the mind. Such books can make you feel as if you’ve travelled and watched the ebb and flow of life.

This particular example leaves you as a fly on the wall of a seperated couple thrown back together by the happening of 9/11 and though it does dwell on that day, it also paints a vivid and yet mysterious picture of two lives entwined but remaining isolated, of people, not quite in control of their own destiny and how those who realise this deal with the surrender of control to random chances.

 In this, I suppose I could draw elegant paralels to capitalism and post modernity and the hopelesness of modern life, but there is more than posturing here. I found the characters rich, believable and despite Delillo’s skill at writing you into an impassive observational role, the way the parents found their son a complete mystery quite touching.

So, all in all, I’d say – it’s not a bad book by any means, it’s not a great book either but it is one that offers a level of insight into humanity and some thought about human behaviour whilst eschewing any need for great drama and emotion. As it’s book set in NY during and 9:11, this I think is a pretty admirable thing.

Another review, that uses bigger words here 

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