Thursday, September 7, 2006

Writing on the 9/11

In exactly four days, humanity will soon remember that five years separate us from the time when the World Trade Center collapsed. In this article published on the web site of the Canadian Broadcasting Channel (CBC), we can learn that American writer Ken Kalfus has decided to pen the first satirical novel about the 9/11. This novel, for your information, is called A Disorder Peculiar to the Country.

Seriously, I really don't know what to expect from this novel that I'm looking forward to read, but it appears that we must take its satirical tone with a grain of salt. After all, the novel really looks good and by the way, have anyone read Kalfus's novel about the 9/11? I just asked this question, because I want to have your opinion on his books. Here's a list of the other books about the 9/11 that are mentionned in the article from CBC on Ken Kalfus. I still haven't read these novels, but I'll try to look for them when I'll have the time to do it. Anyway, have a nice reading.

Windows on the World by Frédéric Beigbeder (2003). Perhaps the most literal and eccentric of the 9/11 novels. The fictional story of a New York realtor breakfasting with his sons at the World Trade Center’s famed restaurant on 9/11 alternates with the musings of a Paris author (a thinly veiled Beigbeder) one year after the attacks.

Due Preparations for the Plague by Janette Turner Hospital (2003). Much of this mystery-thriller had already been written at the time of the 9/11 attacks. Still, this taut, devastating story about 10 hostages from a hijacked flight facing their deaths has deep resonance.

Pattern Recognition by William Gibson (2003). An eerily intuitive cool hunter, whose CIA agent father disappeared on Sept. 11, is sent on a classified assignment to track down footage of a mysterious film that’s circulating on the internet. Not strictly about 9/11, but the story is steeped in a new-world-order paranoia that captures the jittery mood of the time.

Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham (2005). Three novellas in different genres (a ghost tale, a noir-thriller and a science-fiction story) set in different time periods in New York, all connected by the poetry of Walt Whitman. Its 9/11 relevance lies mainly in its middle story, about a children’s terrorist cell operating during the anxious days after the attacks.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (2005). This sophomore effort by the New York wunderkind author (Everything is Illuminated) contains clever embellishments, including photographs, doodles and stray bits of text. The unconventional form is fitting since the protagonist is unconventional himself — a preternaturally bright nine-year-old inventor, tambourine player, actor, jeweller and pacifist whose father died in the World Trade Center.

Saturday by Ian McEwan (2005). Britain’s master novelist follows a thoughtful neurosurgeon on a 24-hour journey through London on the same day a million protesters march against the war in Iraq.

Terrorist by John Updike (2006). The bard of suburban discontent covers new ground, specifically a poor New Jersey neighbourhood, where an Egyptian-American teenager — who is a follower of a zealous storefront imam — gets drawn into a terrorist plot.

The Good Life by Jay McInerney (2006). A group of snobby, ambitious, wealthy New Yorkers (a portrait of the author’s own social circle, maybe?) are forced to reassess their lives after the attacks of 9/11.

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