“There is September 11 and then there are the days after, and finally the years. Falling Man is a magnificent, essential novel about the event that defines turn-of-the-century America. It begins in the smoke and ash of the burning towers and tracks the aftermath of this global tremor in the intimate lives of a few people. First there is Keith, walking out of the rubble into a life that he’d always imagined belonged to everyone but him. Then Lianne, his estranged wife, memory-haunted, trying to reconcile two versions of the same shadowy man. And their small son Justin, standing at the window, scanning the sky for more planes.”
“When he appeared at the door, it was not possible, a man come out of an ash storm, all blood and slag, reeking of burned matter, with pinpoint glints of slivered glass in his face. He looked immense, in the doorway, with a gaze that had no distance in it. He carried a briefcase and stood slowly nodding. She thought he might be in shock but didn’t know what this meant in precise terms, medical terms. He walked past her toward the kitchen and she tried calling her doctor, then 911, then the nearest hospital, but all she heard was the drone of overloaded lines. She turned off the TV set, not sure why, protecting him from the news he’d just walked out of, that’s why, and then went into the kitchen. He was sitting at the table, and she poured him a glass of water and told him that Justin was with his grandmother, released early from school and also being protected from the news, at least as it concerned his father.
He said, ‘Everybody’s giving me water.'”
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