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This review is from: Windows on the World (Paperback)
if not indeed vapid. The scheme and content of the novel are described in other reviews, but none of those seems to express the exasperation it made me feel.
Both Beigbeder's alter ego--his 'cousin', as he once calls him--facing death in the south tower and the narrator who seems to be the real Beigbeder are bores. No problem with that in itself: it's never been important to me that a character, or an author, seem likeable or sympathetic. What is a problem is that they're not interesting characters to read about, though I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that Beigbeder thought readers would find them as fascinating as he does. And, except for the setting, there's nothing out of the very ordinary here. Middle-aged men attracting hot young babes? Houellebecq did it better. Author intrudes upon his own fiction? Michon did it better. Musings on life, death and, above all, oneself? An 18-year-old of slightly-above-average intelligence could do it better. Beigbeder makes some good points but none that wouldn't occur to that teen-ager, who probably would disdain using as Begbeder does references to pop culture as a cheap replacement for insight.
Barely 3 stars, but 3 it is because the reactions of people in that tower are interesting and often convincing, and because Beigbeder does manage to give a strong sense of their gradual realisation that they are irrevocably trapped in a place that is with torturous slowness being filled with fumes, debris, smoke, and the stink of death.