Book 01: Falling Man: a Novel
Don DeLillo, 2007.Genre:
Contemporary. Post-modern.Other Details
: Hardback. 246 pages.“It was not a street any more but a world, a time and space of falling ash and near night.”
So opens Falling Man
as Keith Neudecker, a 39-year old lawyer, stumbles away from the World Trade Center. In shock and slightly injured he ends up at the door of his estranged wife Lianne. He attempts to reconnect with her and their son though this is interspersed with periods of complete withdrawal. The only person he seems to be able to connect with is Florence, another survivor whose abandoned briefcase he had picked up during his descent and later returned.
Rather than write a saga featuring a huge cast of characters, DeLillo instead focuses upon this extended family and examines how in the days, months and years that follow they deal with the experiences of 9/11. Also, woven into the story are the imagined experiences of one of the hi-jackers as well as the occasional appearance of a fictional performance artist known as The Falling Man, who jumps from various sites dressed dressed in a business suit and hangs suspended in the air recreating the famous falling man picture from 9/11.
I had a mixed response to this book. Some of the scenes were quite stunning yet others seemed disconnected like random vignettes strung together jumping about in time rather than a story. It is a post-modern work and so this kind of thing pretty much expected. I felt it was a statement on how fragmented the lives of his main protagonists had become in the wake of the attack and by extension how this reflected the collective consciousness. I do admit to zoning out during the later scenes when Keith takes up playing poker professionally. Still overall a worthwhile, thought-provoking novel. Book 02: The Sacred Cut: Nic Costa 03
David Hewson, 2005Genre:
Crime Thriller. Police Procedural.Other Details
: Paperback 522 pages.
In this third outing for Italian detective Nic Costa and his associates are struggling with a snow blizzard, the first in decades to hit Rome. Seems the UK isn't the only place that grinds to a halt with snow. The mutilated body of a woman is found at the Pantheon and the position of the body suggests some kind of symbolic meaning. When it is discovered that she is an American, the US Embassy in Rome assigns a pair of FBI agents to the investigation. There is the usual tug-of-war about whose jurisdiction this falls into that results in an uneasy alliance between the parties. However, it soon is revealed that something else is taking place rather than a straight forward murder and one of those pesky decades old secrets involving security forces and undercover types comes to light.
The novel certainly started off well but seemed to lose direction part way through. This may have been because of the complexity of the spy vs spy antics. Still Hewson does write very readable thrillers with extremely likeable characters and I certainly enjoyed it. One to avoid reviews on Amazon as some bright spark revealed a huge spoiler for something that takes place later in the series. I am hoping my brain will forget it between now and when I reach that one.