Many books have been written about 9/11 but is there one that embodies the era that the attacks inaugurated?
When Changez, the Pakistani hero of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, watches the Twin Towers come crumbling down, he smiles.
Little Oskar Schell, the nine-year-old at the centre of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, grapples with his father’s death by creating a flip-book – 15 blurry stills, arranged in reverse order, of a man falling to his death from the World Trade Center. When he flicks through the pages, the flailing figure is restored to the top of the building – safe.
In Open City, writer Teju Cole describes Colonel Tassin – a (real) 19th Century figure – who kept count of the number of birds killed by flying into the Statue of Liberty, as many as 1,400 a night. The image is a reminder of another killing by collision, also in New York, two centuries later.
These are three books that have attempted to hew fiction from the fact of 9/11. According to Bowker’s Books in Print database, which tracks print and e-books published and distributed in the United States, 164 such works have been written so far – they either directly address the event or use it as a peg to hang greater literary concerns about love, life and loss…
[continues at the BBC]