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Falling Man

3.2  ·  Rating Details ·  10,352 Ratings  ·  1,204 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

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Published May 28th 2007 by Simon & Schuster Audio (first published 2007)
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Edi I'd question what you mean by asking this, what your intentions are towards this novel. DeLillo is one of the world's finest current writers. If there…moreI'd question what you mean by asking this, what your intentions are towards this novel. DeLillo is one of the world's finest current writers. If there is 'islamophobia' in it, or homophobia, or transphobia, those would be views expressed by the characters in the novel. Isn't that the point of novels? To present differing perspectives, experiences, prejudices, narratives? Given this is a 9/11 novel, you might expect some of the protagonists to present 'islamophobic' views (by which I take it you mean criticism of Islam). Given so many people did. In answer to your question, there is none. But find out for yourself: You take yourself into a novel, your expectations, your experiences, your '-phobias', your prejudices. That's the point. (less)
Jens Long-winded, obscure and over-written. De Lillo goes places few writers ever reach but finally you wonder why he bothers. Maybe there's a message…moreLong-winded, obscure and over-written. De Lillo goes places few writers ever reach but finally you wonder why he bothers. Maybe there's a message there, but if so that message is unwantedly depressing.(less)
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Community Reviews

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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
Dec 11, 2009 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ilenia Zodiaco
Aug 11, 2015 Ilenia Zodiaco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana, alieni
C'è qualcosa di opaco ne "L'uomo che cade". Il lettore è investito da un senso di disorientamento, di ottundimento, come dopo un grande trauma. La ferita dell'America, post 11 Settembre, è esposta. Meno in rilievo risultano molti dei tratti distintivi dell'autore: i dialoghi cerebrali, la riflessione sui media. Più respiro alla sofferta intimità dei personaggi. Credo che sia il più triste, il più dolente dei romanzi di DeLillo (tra quelli letti). Forse non è nemmeno un romanzo, sono dei framment ...more
May 30, 2007 Johnathan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Franco  Santos
"These were the days after and now the years, a thousand heaving dreams, the trapped man, the fixed limbs, the dream of paralysis, the gasping man, the dream of asphyxiation, the dream of helplessness.”
El 11 de septiembre del 2001 es una fecha que no solo tiene su marca en la Historia, sino que viene acompañada de imágenes de aviones que se estrellan, cenizas, lágrimas, gritos desesperados, personas cayendo y dos torres solitarias, al borde de una fantasía empírea que no pudo continuar. Las Torr
Jul 22, 2007 Bart rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 19, 2007 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 26, 2007 tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 21, 2014 Josh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 t
This is as severe as it gets, insofar as it opens with “figures in windows a thousand feet up, dropping into free space” (4), jumping to avoid death, ruled nevertheless homicide, from the burning WTC.

Confirmed that trauma is transformative to the extent that narrator “began to see things, somehow, differently” after the “second fall” (5). As with the narrator, so with the setting: “Everything was gray, it was limp and failed, storefronts behind corrugated steel shutters, a city somewhere else, u
Oct 02, 2008 Julia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 02, 2013 Jonfaith rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Michael Finocchiaro
There are good DeLillo books and there are poor ones. I have to put Falling Man in this second category. I know, it is about 9/11 and about the reaction of folks in Manhattan to the trauma afterwards. But I was not particularly moved by the plot (found it a bit derivative and pedestrian) and found the imagination did not exceed that of Underworld which I really adored. I could not muster much affinity to the characters. I would definitely not take this one on a desert island. If you want to read ...more
Jun 28, 2015 Paolo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Giustamente in una recensione di un lettore qui su Goodreads si diceva che se c'era una autore titolato a scrivere dell' 11 settembre questo era DeLillo, visto che la costruzione delle due torri aveva fatto da sfondo a larghi brani di Underworld.

Peccato che il risultato sia molto inferiore alle attese: De Lillo, che ha saputo trarre un' epopea da una palla da baseball, qui sembra come soverchiato dall'immanità dell'evento, nonostante gli fornisca in abbondanza il "materiale" prediletto (detriti
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
Ali Nazifpour
Sep 08, 2013 Ali Nazifpour rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Natalie Monroe
On September 11th, 2001, two planes crashed into the World Trade Center. Meg Cabot was living several streets away at the time and wrote a first-person account of the entire horrific incident.

I recommend you read her story rather than this artsy, detached piece of crap.
This book opens with the events of 9/11 and follows the experiences of one survivor who walks out of one of the twin towers as they topple. It goes on to describe his life in the aftermath. This is a sad and serious book written in De Lillo's typical style with short, choppy sentences and quick changes from one character's perspective to anothers. Sometimes I had to reread bits to be sure who was speaking but that's De Lillo! An interesting read.
Nov 02, 2008 Donna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 24, 2016 Chase rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fabulously written, quite frankly devastating a read, DeLillo's Falling Man is a haunting retelling of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in America with such poetic force as to shatter, whilst memorialising, the American subject, changed forever by the cataclysmic impact of globalised modernity.
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
Washington Post
Aug 13, 2014 Washington Post rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Emad Attili

Ummmm! Well, actual rating: 2.5 :)
Difficult to rate! But in my opinion, the novel was not that interesting!
I enjoyed the first chapter, the opening chapter, but then things got really slow and somehow tedious! Sometimes I felt really excited, but, unfortunately, I felt bored most of the time!


There is one major idea discussed throughout the novel, which is the idea of God. It's a very good idea, and I think it was handled properly and deeply. It was the most interesting thing in the novel!

Mar 05, 2009 Kristiana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Jun 17, 2008 Cameron rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 22, 2008 Lee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ubik 2.0
Oct 20, 2012 Ubik 2.0 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Erano i giorni del dopo. Ormai tutto si misurava a partire dal dopo.”

Come già esistono una sociologia ed un'economia del dopo 11 settembre, così da qualche tempo è nata una narrativa analogamente datata.

Delillo affronta l'evento di petto e ci proietta subito nel cuore dei fatti, poi un poco alla volta se ne allontana preferendo seguire, come gli è congeniale, il riverbero dell'accadimento traumatico nella psiche e nel comportamento dei personaggi, attraverso lo smarrimento che pervade ogni cos
Apr 13, 2013 Simona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 25, 2008 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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:

Dec 10, 2010 Shane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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...

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“These are the days after. Everything now is measured by after.” 46 likes
“You have to break through the structure of your own stonework habit just to make yourself listen.” 14 likes
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