In the years since 9/11, there have been no shortage of novelists willing to take on the subject. Some of the best examples were published about 4 or 5 years ago: Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; Don DeLillo’s Falling Man; S.J. Rozan’s Absent Friends; Jess Walter’s The Zero; Jay McInerney’s The Good Life.
In recent months, another round of novelists has taken on the topic. One of the most recent, and most notable, is James Hynes’ Next, which our reviewer Lauren Bufferd says is his best book yet. Other reviewers agree; Next has had a lot of buzz, including a rave review in the New York Times.
And on April 6, Sue Miller’s take on the tragedy, The Lake Shore Limited, hits shelves. Watch for an interview in our April print edition. A sneak preview of the piece:
The fictional what-ifs of her new novel were sparked by a real-life connection to the events of that tragic day. “I had a friend who was staying with someone whose sister was killed on 9/11. Due to the circumstances, my friend felt it was necessary to stay longer than she would have otherwise, and to enact a role, something my main character ends up doing in the novel.”
It would be interesting to see how these two recent novels compare with earlier takes on the tragedy. How much of the differences are due to the passage of time and changing perspective — and how much to the personalities and talents of the authors? Of the 9/11-themed novels I’ve read, it seems like the latter is the most likely to affect the treatment of the subject. And I tend to find the more idiosyncratic takes, like Foer’s and Walter’s, the most intriguing. How about you?