Monday, June 1, 2009

Reading Rainbow: Falling Man by Don DeLillo

It has been months, it seems, since I last finished a book. While I don't necessarily have a lot to say on this one, I will briefly talk about it.

While probably not as good as White Noise or Underworld, DeLillo's 9/11 novel dives into the malaise that followed the attack. Told in a fractured way, the short sections within the chapters aptly reflect the lives that were broken.

The book focuses on husband and wife that living separately at the time of the attack, who were then thrown back together by the forces at work. Upon getting back together, both were largely withdrawn, Lianne craving an order and stability to her life (read: safety), and Keith wandering through the haze having been permanently detached by his survival of the attack of the first tower.

As Keith meanders through his new existence, first in New York and later in Las Vegas, Lianne tries to put together the puzzle that is her returned husband. All the while, their son, Justin, undertakes the habit of speaking monosyllabically and enlists his friends to watch the sky for "Bill Lawton". Needless to say, this family finds themselves struggling to put their lives back in order.

Perhaps the most affective passage in the book is its coda, "In the Hudson Corridor". The section begins with a terrorist sitting on the plane--having helped secure it for their purpose--awaiting his fate. The path of this terrorist towards this point had been outlined in previous stand alone chapters, and his involvement with the terrorists seemed to arise from chance as much as anything else. As the plane crashes into the tower, the point of view switches over to Keith and follows his escape from the tower. It is here that DeLillo's prose reaches its greatest height within Falling Man and approaches the standard set by Underworld.

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