Tuesday, September 27, 2011

You should really read The Submission

So... after listening to the NPR story about Amy Waldman's debut novel, The Submission, being the first legit amazing piece of literature about 9/11, I sent a sample to my kindle. It didn't even take me until the end of the three chapters they provided me to go and buy the whole thing. I then proceeded to plow through almost all of it on my horrific 28 hour long trip back to Scotland and now, I simply do not want it to end. 

You guys should seriously just all read this book. Even more encouraging because it's a debut novel. Though-- Amy was a bureau chief at the NYTimes for a long time, so it's not like she just fell of the turnip truck and decided to write a book. 

I say it's about 9/11-- and it is and it isn't. It centers around those involved with the anonymous architectural selection of the design for the World Trade Center Memorial site. The jury is divided, but finally they agree on the more hopeful of the two remaining finalists, The Garden (This is as opposed to the other choice, The Void. I mean, I'd pick the Garden too.) Then the jury president calls to reveal the name of the architect and it's a super fun Mohammad Khan. I'm sure you can imagine the kind of political bullshit that ensues. 

And while it's a very honest, astute, and brutal rendering of the kind of behavior that came out in Americans after 9/11, Waldman's work still has me empathizing with all of the sides. Even if some of them are just really wrong, I see the humanity and legitimate concern in each of their stances. 

I read a lot, but only every now and then do I really push stuff at people. (Remember Freedom & The Passage & The Imperfectionists last year? Last year was a big year.) Well this is the one for this year. (Okay, also A Visit From the Goon Squad, but technically that was last year too.) Read it

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