Book Reviews of Falling Man

Falling Man
Falling Man
Author: Don DeLillo
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ISBN-13: 9781416546023
ISBN-10: 1416546022
Pages: 256
  • Currently 2.8/5 Stars.

2.8 stars, based on 34 ratings
Publisher: Scribner
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

7 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Falling Man on
Helpful Score: 5
Deals with September 11 and how it has changed the way people view their lives in this world. I found it extremely difficult to follow the shifts in narration and it took me halfway through the book before I could really get past the author's surrealistic writing style. It was worth the struggle, though, and I found the ending quite poignant.
reviewed Falling Man on + 252 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
What can I say about this book? I don't feel right admitting that I didn't like it very much, but it was just awful, catastrophic! It was so scattered and chaotic, shifting from character to character so abruptly, I couldn't tell what was going on. Perhaps that was the point, it being a post 9/11 novel. It was a thought-provoking read, but extremely frustrating to get through.
reviewed Falling Man on + 106 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I didn't get very far into this - a combination of a narrotor that NEVER changed his voice inflection and a storyline that was far too depressing. I don't know if the flat voice inflection was on purpose to impose a more dramatic effect on the subject matter of if this guy really should not read aloud, but I could never tell who was speaking. And yes, I realized the setting of this book is the worst US event in current history, but I guess I thought enough time had past that I would be able to be able to disassociate more from it - not the case.
reviewed Falling Man on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This is one of the few books I stopped listening to during the first disc. I can't even remember why I disliked it so much.
reviewed Falling Man on + 384 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
what was this author thinking? i have no clue! this much acclaimed book left me not feeling anything , in fact i did not finish it.
i love a good way out there book but this was too far out. maybe that was the idea,but it missed me by a mile. i never knew who he was talking about with his use of pronouns and not names. life is too short to read such a convoluted book! it did not even make my 100 page limit!
reviewed Falling Man on + 675 more book reviews
I think Don DeLillo did a great job exploring the post 9/11 world. It was a very hard book to read because it brings back all the bad feelings of that day. In this book we follow a few people and a glimpse of what their personal lives are like after 9/11. There are also a few parts of chapters devoted to the terrorists which defines them as real people who were living amongst us. I have never read any of Don DeLillo's books but I'm looking forward to reading another as I think he is a very good writer.
reviewed Falling Man on + 119 more book reviews
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 es-tranged 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.

These are lives choreographed by loss, grief and the enormous force of history.

Brave and brilliant, Falling Man traces the way the events of September 11 have reconfigured our emotional landscape, our memory and our perception of the world. It is cathartic, beautiful, heartbreaking.

BookPage Review:

An American master grapples with the legacy of 9/11

Dominating the cover photograph of Don DeLillo's monumental 1997 novel Underworld are the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, their upper floors obscured by fog or smoke. That picture eerily prefigures the subject matter of this latest work, marking a welcome return to form for an American master. In Falling Man, DeLillo creates a cast of fully human characters groping for some understanding of the act of madness that was 9/11.

Keith Neudecker is a survivor of the attack on the World Trade Center, struggling through dust and ash as the novel opens, toward the midtown apartment where his wife Lianne, from whom he's separated, and his seven-year old son, Justin, live. He carries the briefcase of a stranger with whom he'll later connect as he attempts to deal with the random chance that allowed him to escape the doomed building while friends and co-workers died. Lianne is a freelance book editor who volunteers to lead a group of people diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease through writing exercises designed to help them hold on to the shreds of memory slowly drifting away. She's haunted by the suicide of her father, himself a victim of the terrible disease, and fears his death foreshadows her fate.

Without overtly acknowledging their shared need, Lianne and Keith negotiate an uneasy reconciliation that's more a matter of circumstance than rekindled passion. Justin and two of his friends search the skies, looking for planes flown by the man they call "Bill Lawton." They and the other characters, like Lianne's mother Nina; her companion Martin, an art dealer with vague ties to German leftists; and Florence Givens, the owner of the briefcase, wander across a New York landscape that feels scrubbed of most of its familiar landmarks and haunted by the memory of that grim day. DeLillo brings even more impressive imaginative powers to bear as he depicts the terror cell preparing to launch the attacks.

The "Falling Man" of the title is a performance artist who appears randomly throughout the city, using a harness to recreate what appears to some to be the iconic photograph of a man plunging to his death from one of the towers. We're forced to ask ourselves whether this enigmatic character is a symbol of healing or merely an exploiter of the city's grief.

As in all his novels, DeLillo grapples with profound questionsâthe existence of God, the power of memory, the struggle we confront to find our place in the universe. His prose is poetic and meditative, shifting effortlessly from jittery, almost jazzlike rhythms to the placid quality of a hymn. One example, from his description of the towers' collapse that bookends the novel: "The only light was vestigial now, the light of what comes after, carried in the residue of smashed matter, in the ash ruins of what was various and human, hovering in the air above."

The subject of 9/11 and its impact on the American psyche offer themes that will resurface in literature for generations. Those books will have the luxury of time and emotional distance to permit their authors to wrestle with questions that will linger throughout history. Still, it's doubtful that many of them will do so with the grace and undeniable power of this exquisite work.