September 11th is the 800 pound gorilla in this intense story. Told through a range of third person vantage points which intersect in a strip club in south Florida during the four days before the infamous attacks, there is a ominous sense of a storm about to hit. Dubus's strength is his ability to realistically portray the perspectives of a variety of characters, from a three year old girl to a young Saudi man; a small part of the action occurs in a location which is very familiar to me but seems so different told through the latter's perspective. The action is front-loaded into the first 24 hours or so, which seemed saturated by the overlapping accounts of the same events, but picks up two-thirds of the way through. Nonetheless, it was a fine and intricate character study of some very flawed people trying to do their best which I was sad to see come to an end.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about what I could say about this one. It was an amazing and captivating read. I had a hard time putting it down. And yet, the characters were all desperate and not terribly likable. In fact, only one minor character was truly likable and yet the book was, indeed, amazing.
It covered the last days before 9/11. One of the eventual pilots who flew into the WTC on that awful day is only one of the characters that we meet in this book. There is also a stripper, her daughter, a babysitter, a heavy drinker who, in his own sick way, thought he was doing a good thing (though it was awful, of course) and some less important to the story folks. But, yes, it was amazing!
I really liked THE HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG, so maybe that's part of why I liked this one so much. I'm not really sure myself, but if you get a chance, read this one. It's good!
Even though I knew where this story was headed, it kept me enthralled each step of the way. And I gained perspective, hearing it told from different points of view. I highly recommend.