Matt's Reviews > Falling Man

Falling Man by Don DeLillo
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's review
Aug 13, 11

Read in August, 2011

Some random thoughts concerning Don DeLillo, his novel Falling Man and 9/11:

-I think I've finally realized why it's so hard to examine DeLiio's work, and that is because he does it for you. Reading DeLillo is like reading the novel and the CliffNotes version of that novel simultaneously. It creates an airtight literary structure, and I felt like I read most of the sentences twice.

-There is some haunting visual poetry in the double "L"s of "Falling" (and DeLillo).

-Later in this novel, one the main characters becomes obsessed with poker (Texas Hold 'Em it appears). Now, seeing as this book came out in 2007, I had to wonder: did DeLillo fall into the poker craze of the late 00s like so many other B-list celebrities, soccer dads, and Internet card-sharks? Or was he simply making a point about how America soothed it's post 9/11 wounds with this new fad? And, if DeLillo DID become a poker fiend in his personal life, would I even be able to tell, because he's so damn good at concealing his personal influences? Either way, whether for research or pleasure, DeLillo definitely took a trip to Vegas sometime 2003-2006.

-Performance art as a way to deal with unspeakable tragedy seems entirely to be a New York thing, and the parts dealing with this subplot had a distinctive NY feel, like it wasn't for "us", only for "them". Actually, the book as a whole kinda had that feel.

-I wasn't really wild about this book, but the man can write. Check out this description of a fellow 9/11 survivor:
"She looked at him and got up. She went past the front door and down the hall. She was plain except when she laughed. She was someone on the subway. She wore loose skirts and plain shoes and was full-figured and maybe a little clumsy but when she laughed there was a flare in nature, an unfolding of something half hidden and dazzling."

-There's a scene later in the novel when Keith is chatting with his poker buddy in a casino, and they have a discussion over whether the waterfall in lobby is real or fake, a digital illusion. And then they discuss whether it matters if it's real or fake, etc...This is awful similar to the famous World's Most Photographed House scene from White Noise, and similar to dozens of other scenes from throughout DeLillo's career. And this got me thinking that DeLillo's characters exist in a world outside of narrative. This book could have been about a local plumbers union and it still would have been the same.

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