For more on Falling Man, Don DeLillo's remarkable -- but to my mind slightly unsatisfying -- 9/11 novel, here is Steven Poole's excellent review from the New Statesman and here is Adam Mars-Jones' equally sensitive but slightly more muted review from the Guardian. Mars-Jones has a superb description of what, for me, is the novel's problematic shape or organizing principle: "It's hard to tell whether this is a story of disintegration or its opposite, which isn't necessarily a problem; there are novels, for instance, JM Coetzee's Disgrace, that have made a perilous success of this tactic."

Needless to say, both review are more perceptive than Michiko Kakutani's grouchy dismissal in The New York Times.

One other aside: Reviewers have made much of DeLillo's remarkable invention, the performance artist Falling Man, who dangles from Manhattan buildings, in simulation of the tragically famous office workers who jumped to their deaths from the World Trade Center. No one seems to have noticed that in the '60s and '70s, American artist Ernest Trova made a well-known series of silkscreen prints and metal sculptures all with the same title, more or less -- "Study: Falling Man" -- and all featuring the same armless, modernistic humanoid figure, often standing but also often in a horizontal position, as if falling face down.

I don't know whether Trova's works had any relevance for DeLillo (although one of the two times I've seen DeLillo, he was in an art gallery), but I thought I'd note the echo.

May 15, 2007 1:57 PM |



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