These focus on Hammad, one of the hijackers in the first plane. Yet much of Falling Man feels like an attempt to avoid turning 9/11 into a set piece - as if that would be in some way distasteful. The result, for them, is never in doubt - they're watching Match of the Day, not the match itself. And so, to cope with this, Shakespeare has the Chorus say, Look, here's the stuff you didn't see - the motivations, the behind-the-scenes business. The paragraphs may fragment but the themes knit together perhaps too neatly. DeLillo is a writer famous for his set pieces: Instead, in the manner of DeLillo's previous two novels, The Body Artist and Cosmopolis, Falling Man is ambitious in scope but not in scale. In the camp on the windy plain they were shaped into men.
If a scene can be shown in retrospect, it is; Modestly. Readers have been expecting it. Although he is injured, Keith goes not to hospital but to the home of his estranged wife, Lianne. DeLillo, I would say, believes the world evolves through set pieces. The Airborne Toxic Event of White Noise, the Moonie wedding of Mao II and the Giants-Dodgers baseball game of Underworld. Here is DeLillo describing Keith's memory of the staircase descent. The answer is: But my job is words, and I've turned my seeing into saying. At his best, DeLillo is one of the great seers and sayers of our time. The novel starts after the first tower, the south, has already collapsed. You know the what; We follow him as he approaches the point of impact. There is no attempt to write another panoramic Big Book, like Underworld. An unnamed everyman, who we later learn is called Keith Neudecker, was working in the building when the first plane hit. The prose here, rhythmic and dynamic, is in extreme contrast to the enervated passages detailing Kevin's disappearance into the world of high-stakes poker tournaments and Lianne's strained novel-of-ideas dialogues with her mother and her mother's lover. Even so, DeLillo's 9/11 terrorists read like a weak echo of earlier DeLillo gangs - most notably, of the Moonies of Mao II who sit in their van, intensifying their all-excluding faith. They looked through the windows and saw the faces of fallen-world people. And so, even as news of those attacks was received, DeLillo's was the name that came to mind - just as JG Ballard's did when the manner of Princess Diana's death became known. So how has he gone about the task?
They begin a brief affair-of-connectedness. If it can have the dramatic stuffing knocked out of it in advance, all the better. This is a trick learned from Shakespeare's history plays. And DeLillo hears pretty well, too. Together, they repeatedly go over the events of their lives. Falling Man246pp, Picador, £16. 99Falling Man is Don DeLillo's 9/11 novel. He even identified the target: Out the south windows the Trade towers stood cut against the night, intensely massed and near. Check the final three words for a killer pay-off: This is where bottles of water were passed up the line from somewhere below, and soft drinks, and people were even joking a little, the equity traders. That is great saying; But, in the end, thank goodness, he succumbs. The three main Kevin-Lianne sections of the book are all supplied with a brief coda. It totalised their attachment to true father. These often contain his best, most insightful writing. Pray all night at times, all of them, chanting, shouting out, leaping up from prayer stance, lovely moaning prayers to Master, oh please, oh yes. Here is Hammad, similarly pitying of unbelievers, similarly tunnel-visioned: This entire life, this world of lawns to water and hardware stacked on endless shelves, was total, forever, illusion. With his understanding that it is terrorists, not artists, who now speak most directly to the collective unconscious, DeLillo - of all artists - came closest to prefiguring, if not predicting, the attacks on Washington and New York. Keith returns the suitcase to its owner, Florence, who was also in the south tower. Of course, the Elizabethan audience knew exactly how victorious Henry V had been when he got to France. They fired weapons and set off explosives.
They received instruction in the highest jihad, which is to make blood flow, their blood and that of others. There is a definite decline in the quality of the writing. Here's the why. What Falling Man implicitly says to its audience is something quite similar: OK, we saw the same thing, the same repeated footage of impact and explosion. This is his description of a moment we've all tried to express to ourselves: He heard the sound of the second fall, or felt it in the trembling air, the north tower coming down, a soft awe of voices in the distance. I doubt that could be bettered. After the catastrophic opening, the remainder of the novel is almost entirely aftermath. This isn't seeing-saying, it is repeating. For the truth is that, in Mao II, DeLillo had already written his great 9/11 novel, long before the specific date and the event happened to come around. Lianne runs a support group for people with Alzheimer's disease. This is the word 'loomed' in all its prolonged and impending force. · Toby Litt's latest novel is Hospital (Hamish Hamilton) The middle two sentences about the windy plain and explosives could come from an Andy McNab novel. It puts us there. Together, they repeatedly go over the events of that day. A few years ago, DeLillo's weapons wouldn't have been merely fired nor his explosives set off. He has escaped, carrying a suitcase belonging to a stranger. It is scrupulously domestic, relentlessly downbeat. In appropriately fragmented paragraphs, we follow both of them, backwards and forwards in time. Falling man don delillo essay.