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Falling Man Audio Cassette – 2007

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette: 6 pages
  • Publisher: Clipper Audio (2007)
  • ISBN-10: 1407405012
  • ISBN-13: 978-1407405018
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By trendytracey on 5 July 2010
Format: Paperback
Most people will remember where they were when the news of 9/11 reached them, and for a lot of them, the image of the people jumping from the Towers encapsulate the terror and tragedy of the event.
DeLillo uses art to imitate life inside the novel - the Falling Man of the title is a performance artist that pops up all over New York in the months after 9/11 in an upside down guise that recalls the real victims.
However, the book doesn't concentrate on this man as the main character, it focuses on Keith and Florence - who were in the tower when it was struck but worked for different companies, and their futile attempt to make sense of things by forming a strained relationship. Also Lianne and Justin, Keith's long-suffering wife and son, and a host of secondary characters appear to be coping with the event in various ways.
Any book that tackles a world terrorist attack is a big project, and I think that it's still too fresh (especially to an American citizen) to try and lay out generalised coping strategies. It seems that DeLillo was trying to make the family in Falling Man the embodiment of the New Yorker in the same way that Steinbeck made the Joads the very essence of the Okie during the Depression - and it doesn't quite work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Demob Happy on 23 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
In 'Falling Man' DeLillo tries to tackle the Big Theme of the 21st century - namely September 11, 2001 - and how it has impacted on the collective psyche. However, there is less of the virtuoso omnipresence of Underworld, for example, but more examination of the attack at a local and intimate level. Terrorism is by no means a new theme for Delillo, who has explored the ways in which political violence shapes society in many of his books. Here he also focuses on another traditional preoccupation, the way that mass media saturates the visual symbolism of such events until its original meaning becomes disjointed.

As with other DeLillo novels, the characters' lives are rendered dispiritingly unsympathetic by his cynical attitude towards modern (i.e, consumer) society. The dehumanisation and creeping inertia of the protagonists, for example, makes a deadening reading experience. Communication in DeLillo's novels is often so stunted and inarticulate as to seem emotionally retarded. This is probably the point, but it can also have the affect of feeling contrived and overstylised. DeLillo tells one strand of narrative from the perspective of one of the plane hijackers, which doesn't add an enormous amount to our understanding of the attack but reads credibly enough.

DeLillo is one of the great writers of modern American fiction, and isolated passages leave you breathless with their observational insight, mood and originality. But sometimes you wish that DeLillo had more empathy for his characters, as they seem so vacuous as to make reading his novels a distinctly cold experience. Nevertheless, DeLillo's unusual perspective is arguably much more satisfying to read than some of the more prosaic interpretations of September 11th already written and no doubt yet to come.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Sam J. Ruddock on 10 May 2007
Format: Hardcover
`Falling Man' opens amidst the chaos of 9/11 as Keith Neudecker stumbles dumbstruck away from the Twin Towers. He is in a daze, can barely comprehend that anything is out of the usual. He makes his way to his ex-wife's house, to a life he knew before any of this happened. The novel follows Keith and the people around him as they struggle to understand an event that is beyond anyone's power of comprehension.

Keith's wife, Lianne, is reeling from the death of her father almost twenty years before. Now she runs writing sessions for those with dementia and worries that her own mind is fading. Their child, Justin, searches the sky with binoculars for Bill Lawton (Bin Laden) who speaks in a monosyllabic language and is certain to return. Lianne's mother and her art dealing lover Martin argue over the nature of God and jihad. Keith himself can only begin to remember that crazy morning by meeting with a woman who was there as well.

All the while a street performer named Falling Man is performing stunts across New York, leaping from heights and hanging frozen in the air, daring people to remember.

This is the world Don Delillo presents, a world which started long before 9/11 but whose consciousness was created in that fateful morning. If anyone should write a book about this subject then this is the man. With `White Noise' he expertly tackled the Cold War fear of nuclear fallout and death and now here he is tackling the modern paranoia: terrorism. He is a master of plotting the psyche of terror and this is every bit as good as `White Noise'. Falling Man is exactly what you wish for in a book, intelligent, witty and intensely poignant. Take this dialogue, could anyone else delineate that disbelief better?

"It still looks like an accident, the first one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert Ronsson on 23 Jun. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't 'get' DeLillo. Not an easy thing to admit knowing that he's one of those writers you'd mention as your favourite if you were being interviewed to join a literature-in-English class in college. This is not the first Delillo I've read but it's going to be the last. Life - to use a cliche that would never appear in his work - is too short.
An earlier Goodreads reviewer described the experience as reading through fog and I agree - the quick jumps between narratives, the jumbled time frames, the missing years that are not made clear. Characters act without clear motivations and they think a lot about nothing much. One of the infuriating things - mentioned by the same reviewer - is the post Wolf Hall use of the pronoun without making it clear to the reader who it refers to. On more than one occasion I started a section thinking I was reading about one protagonist only to discover halfway through that it was another. This led to much re-reading, making the book a trial rather than a pleasure. The writer - and/or his editor - must know that this is the effect they are creating so why do it?
Now the hard part. Given Delillo's reputation and the praise lavished on this book I can only deduce that I'm not sufficiently equipped intellectually to cope with American literature of this standard. (I had a similar problem with Open City by Teju Cole.) Perhaps this is a lesson hard learned and I'll not be swayed by reviews to pick up a book that I know deep down is simply too hard for me. Give me characters I can relate to. Give them a story that makes me turn the page. Aah! We're back to that much derided term - give me readability!
One last thing: a shout out to Noma Bar who designed the cover picture on this edition. Simple but, dare I say it, her single illustration carried more emotional heft than all of DeLillo's 250 pages.
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