Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Review

"Falling Man" by Don DeLillo

What's disappointing about Don DeLillo's "Falling Man" is that after we read it, we say, "That's a good impression of what DeLillo would write about 9/11. If only he'd write a book about 9/11... ." Of course, "Falling Man" is what we have been given. It is without question a DeLillo novel in voice and style.

But the plot suffers in the last part of the novel, when DeLillo jumps forward three years after the attacks without much explanation of the intervening years. And the characters lack believability (Claire Messud's "The Emperor's Children" provides a group of characters who react more naturally to 9/11; well as much as we could expect people to react to a terrorist attack).

DeLillo's fragmented story could be forgivable if he provided the final revelation we want him to give us: the one that explains what happened to the people in those towers that September morning. Ultimately, though, DeLillo offers a predictable conclusion, one not fitting an author of his insight.