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Falling Man

3.19 of 5 stars 3.19  ·  rating details  ·  7,965 ratings  ·  990 reviews
There is September 11 and then there are the days after, and finally the years.

Falling Man is a magnificent, essential novel about the event that defines turn-of-the-century America. It begins in the smoke and ash of the burning towers and tracks the aftermath of this global tremor in the intimate lives of a few people.

First there is Keith, walking out of the rubble into a
Hardcover, 246 pages
Published May 15th 2007 by Scribner (first published 2007)
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Aug 16, 2007 Peter added it
Don DeLillo's novel Falling Man has more unspecified pronouns than I care to read.

It's written in that postmodern style that calls for rapidly changing vignettes; the reader bounces from one scene to another to another in just four pages, and as if to drive us mad, DeLillo hardly ever tells us who is speaking or acting. The sections begin with sentences like: "He missed the kid" or "She missed those nights with friends when you talk about everything." We're left in the dark, and the characters,
K.D. Absolutely
May 29, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2010 edition)
Shelves: 1001-non-core
You pick up a book. You read the blurbs. Those in front, at the back and perhaps those in the first few pages. Then you form an impression. Maybe this book is good. Maybe this is about this and about that. Then you pay for the book and start reading at home.

We all know about The Falling Man. On September 11, 2001, a man was photograph falling, or some people say flying, from the north tower. He appeared to have, in his last instants of life, embraced his fate. He departed from this earth like an
Did Don get hit by a cheese truck? What a disappointment! This novel is impressively bad. UNDERWORLD and LIBRA are two of my all-time favorite books, but I barely made it through FALLING MAN. In fact, with ten pages left, I considered putting it down. DeLillo offers little new insight into an already exhausted topic. The characters are flaccid; there's little to no plot; DeLillo neglects his usual ingenious details and fills the novel instead with vague suggestions at what his generally listless ...more
The thing with DeLillo is the what. The conversations. The sentence fragments. The writing style.

Of any list of candidates to write about the horrors of 9/11, DeLillo must have shown up. Underworld of course has the famous photo of the towers by Andre Kertesz. (Falling Man has another photo on its cover by Katie Day Weisberger. It is taken from the sky, where one sees a cyclopean vista of clouds but for the two towers peeking out, dwarfed. It's as breathtaking and emotive as the first, but with
Sep 27, 2007 Bart rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Readers who find value in postmodern writing
Being clever, that's how DeLillo does it.

Falling Man, a sparse work that is better than The Body Artist and much much better than Cosmopolis, does about as much as it can hope to do. Don DeLillo's powers simply aren't up to the task of making a new statement about a national tragedy like 9/11. He is an assembler of words and sentences and paragraphs and - at times - chapters, but he is not a thinker. What, then, has made him considered such an important voice in American letters?

Being clever, th
In some ways, DeLillo seemed the perfect candidate to write a novel about 9/11. In White Noise there was the idea of terrorists flying a hijacked passenger jet into the White House. In Underworld, the construction of the twin towers lumed large in the background for a good part of the book. The cover photo itself focuses on the twin towers rising into clouds (smoke?), with a bird (a plane?) flying close by. It may be a stretch to read a connection with 9/11 into Underworld's cover (not to mentio ...more
I did not care for Falling Man. I found the characters undeveloped and the assembly indifferent. I do care a great deal for Beth Orton's recent album Sugaring Season. My listening of such has been serial, in fact, my wife remains somewhat incredulous that there is "popular" music by someone other than Regina Spektor or Yo La Tengo which entrances for me hours on end. Central Reservation was one of Ms. Orton's previous albums. It haunted the late 1990s for me, as did Delillo's Underworld. I can't ...more
Oct 12, 2008 Julia rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: someone who enjoys different or difficult styles of writing, not for those upset by 9/11 depictions
Recommended to Julia by: book club
Although I understood that the writing style was fractured to reflect the fractured lives of the characters, I found the style annoying and frustrating. Though the topic was interesting, the author would switch from character to character and it was hard to figure out what was going on. In the beginning I would keep going back and looking for clues in the text so I could figure out which character's story I was on, but it became so annoying that I gave up and just would read, not always knowing ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
This novel has a great backdrop: the 9-11 and how it affected the lives of several interesting characters (even two of the 9-11 terrorists are here). But this was overwhelmed by a lot of tricks which didn't work (for me):

a. sparse dialogues, words and phrases used instead of complete sentences. Instead, for example, of one character (Keith) telling his estrange wife (Lianne) that she did something stupid quarreling with a neighbor with the latter's vicious dog beside her, he would just utter: "T
Emir Never
Ten years ago, on September 12, I was one of the millions of people who were shocked by the news of the September 11 terror attacks in the United States. The Philippine Daily Inquirer, for which I was a Southern-Luzon bureau-based correspondent then, carried the images of the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center along with report about the series of attacks. The shock registered upon seeing the images along with the headline, in bold all-caps, superimposed on one of the images: TERRORIS ...more
Washington Post
Nobody bothered to think about it at the time, but from the moment the first airplane hit the World Trade Center in September 2001, one thing was inevitable: Don DeLillo would write a novel about it. DeLillo, as has been noted before in this space, is the novelist as op-ed pundit, a '60s recidivist who simply cannot resist the temptation to turn his novels into lectures or, upon occasion, harangues. So, of course, DeLillo simply had to write about Sept. 11, even though -- as the results all too ...more
This is the best book I've read all year and I hope it stays that way for awhile. It's about sept 11th, but it's DeLillo so it doesn't seem like he's taking advantage of the past to further his literary career. He's an amazing story teller and Falling Man was unbelievable. I read a lot of crap and I sometimes forget how good literature can be. The writing is flawless and at times poetic and the story is not compelled by a plot, it's driven by its characters and their development. It's amazing. A ...more
Mar 06, 2011 Donna rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Iman
Recommended to Donna by: I'm drawn to books with blue covers these days.
I thought I didn't dislike this at the time, but now I realize I did. It's been two years and I barely remember it. I just get this sense of 'bleah' whenever I think about it--like that guy you fuck so he'll just go home. I don't think I liked 'Underworld' very much either.
Charles Kell
A Muted Cry: Don DeLillo’s Falling Man and the “New Normal”

Ah, the 9/11 novel. It hovers like a dark shadow over the literary landscape, beckoning its greatest writers to grapple with that tragic day and its lingering aftermath, to attempt to make some type of meaning, answer the unanswerable. The list is sparkling: John Updike (Terrorist, 2006), Jay McInerney (The Good Life, 2006), Ian McEwan (Saturday, 2005), Claire Messud (The Emperor’s Children, 2006), Jonathan Safron Foer (Extremely Loud an
Unnecessary 9-11 book. Here's my review from the Greenwich Time last year:

Review of “Falling Man” by Don DeLillo, published May 20, 2007
On 9/11, more than 200 people reportedly jumped to their deaths from the World Trade Center buildings, and this after facing an unfathomable choice: Remain in the building and die from the fire; or jump out the window and die from the fall.
On 9/12, newspapers worldwide carried an Associated Press photograph of a man in a white shirt and black pants, falling head
Organic shrapnel = undeniably awesome. Strong opening, riveting end. Otherwise, muddling through 245 pages of middling DeLillo isn't the worst way to pass some time. This one reminded me a lot of Roth's "Everyman," in that they both seemed like worked-up sketches compared to their more developed, "great" books. Also, these characters (other than the token terrorist) don't really exist in systems -- like the academy (White Noise), the football program (Endgame), the music industry (Great Jones St ...more
Ali Nazifpour
This book reads like 250 pages of great poetry. The prose is beautiful, moving, and breathtaking. The tragedy and trauma is felt poetically. The complex issues are dealt with all their complexity, and the tragedy is presented with all its force and yet subtly. The book never falls into sentimentality, reducing the touchy subject of 9/11 to a simple tear-jerker, it doesn't act "inspirational". It would be very easy for this book to suck, but it doesn't. It is a masterpiece. It is a worthy ode to ...more
Sep 11, 2014 Josh rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
”These are the days after. Everything is now measured by after.”

As I write this, on the 13th anniversary of 9/11 -- one of the most tragic and revered days in American History -- I reflect back on Delillo’s “Falling Man” and what I got from this fictional text based on a time and place that is still fresh in many minds and hearts as if it happened, in a figurative sense, yesterday.

Outside of the death of loved ones and grief-stricken friends and family, “Falling Man” tells of a time after the tr
The book’s title is a powerful metaphor for the descent of the West. The towers fall, survivors who emerge are dazed, their lives forever altered. Soon after the event, a “falling man,” dressed in a business suit, makes periodic appearances on the top of tall buildings, from which, strapped to a safety harness, he jumps off into the void to hang suspended and scare onlookers, until he dies, wittingly or unwittingly, in one of those jumps.

The opening scene of Keith, clutching someone else’s brief
Sep 20, 2008 Paul rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2008
When this book was first published in May last year, the arts editor of The Stranger, Seattle's premiere hipster weekly, said I could write a few hundred words on it (along with, incidentally, a full review of Only Revolutions). Meantime dude got promoted to Editor, ate my two reviews, and never got back to me. Thanks, dude. So, having another opportunity to review a book, I decided to re-read this one, since I had conflicting thoughts. Second read, same as the first, and here's my new review:

Elsa Gavriil
I remember where I was when the planes crushed in the Towers. I can recall my exact position - I stayed in that position for hours that day. It was just after 16:00 (I was on the other side of the Atlantic, 7 times zones apart). The following days, I watched TV non-stop, taking in all the news, seeing the photos and the videos. And then, of course, there was the Falling Man -that little dot in the sky in that seemingly everlasting fall. It takes a few moments for the mind to register what the ey ...more
Susan Schaab
How brave is Mr. DeLillo to take an event that so thoroughly pierced the heart of every American, walk into the memory with us and gently caress it with the poetry of his prose. Usually, a writer is in control of the story and can induce the desired emotional reaction in the reader. But here, Mr. DeLillo had to walk into a canyon-sized chasm of emotion and paint from the inside out. The images he creates with words can be compared to an abstract painting that requires the viewer to imprint his o ...more
Rossrn Nunamaker
Don DeLillo's "Falling Man" is a book about a man who 'survives' the attack on the World Trade Center.

Keith had been estranged from his wife and son, but after the attack and his descent from the tower, he finds himself at the door of his wife's home and slowly they come back together in their own way.

The book ends on the day it begins with years passing in between.

During that time the reader is given a glimpse into a variety of perspectives on the event from those inside, to those with loved on
Detriti. Polvere. Macerie. Morte. Sopravvissuti. Attentato terroristico. 11 settembre. America. Crollo. Twin Towers.
Sono solo alcuni dei termini che DeLillo usa per descrivere la paura, l'orrore, l'attentato terroristico che ha sconvolto l'America e il mondo. DeLillo analizza tutto ciò adottando un punto di vista narrativo diverso: da un lato racconta le paure, le angosce dei sopravvissuti, come Keith che è riuscito a sfuggire al crollo e che tenta di reagire perdendosi al tavolo da poker, oppu
Matt Gordon
Read it on a trip to SF for work, mostly on the plane. Found parts of it moving, but short of DeLillo's best. As usual, amazed by his dialogue -- it reads to me like real conversations would.
Il libro sbagliato nel momento sbagliato

Sono stata a chiedermi per metà del libro “ dove cavolo stava Don?” quando le torri furono abbattute. L’ho iniziato lunedì. Pensavo di finirlo in due giorni ma per un motivo o per l’altro ho rallentato la lettura fino a che il mio tran tran quotidiano, in cui i libri hanno un ruolo preponderante, e la lettura si sono incrociati con l’ennesimo attacco all’occidente, il mitico, trasparente, immacolato occidente.
E' successo a pagina 141. Non solo si incrocia
A tough book to rate. DeLillo seems to be writing as interestingly as always. The plots that have disappeared recently mostly have stayed away with this one as well. But the descriptions and the banter are almost poetic in places. There are bits I will easily remember - the situations with the gamblers, the concept of organic shrapnel, the performance artist, the act and the aftermath. I will likely also remember being confused. When DeLillo moves on to a different scene, I understand there's no ...more
I'd imagine a novelist would have a really tough time writing about 9/11. Any plot a writer could conceivably concoct would take a back seat to the actual events surrounding 9/11 and come off contrived. (John Updike, in "Terrorist", tried to present an alternate fictional terroristic act to the real events of 9/11, and while I bought the premise and found it interesting, the novel wasn't well received...if a 3.10 cumulative Goodreads rating is a reasonable indicator). Don DeLillo, a preeminent N ...more
Hmmm. It's ten years since 9/11 but few people have dared to write about it. Perhaps because memories are still so vivid, because the pictures taken by 24 hour news coverage will endure for longer than radio reports and novels. Don DeLillo is one of those who has tried with this novel, but he attains limited success. He tells a tangled story of lives directly affected by the events of that day. The lead story of Keith, the man who escapes the Towers and runs to his estranged wife, is the stronge ...more
I understand that numbness in the wake of the unthinkable is what this book is about, but god, there's just so much numbness here. If this were humanizing in some way, if characters grappled with numbness, possibly recognizing it within themselves, granting us some dawning awareness or insight, then I would have no complaint. But this was just numbness to the point of stupidity, narrowness, and ineptitude. Characters seem incapable of solving, or even identifying, the most basic issues they face ...more
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Don DeLillo is an American author best known for his novels, which paint detailed portraits of American life in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. He currently lives outside of New York City.

Among the most influential American writers of the past decades, DeLillo has received, among author awards, a National Book Award (White Noise, 1985), a PEN/Faulkner Award (Mao II, 1991), and an American
More about Don DeLillo...
White Noise Underworld Libra Cosmopolis Mao II

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“These are the days after. Everything now is measured by after.” 40 likes
“You have to break through the structure of your own stonework habit just to make yourself listen.” 7 likes
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