I just received a copy of Don DeLillo’s new novel, Falling Man, which will be published in mid-May. DeLillo is one of my favorite writers, but his last two books have been deeply disappointing.
But there’s reason to think he may pull out of his slump with this one.
Falling Man is DeLillo’s 9/11 novel, and as a friend remarked to me when discussing the new book: “DeLillo’s been writing about 9/11 for 25 years.”
Meaning, DeLillo’s always been interested in the ways technology, violence, and spectacle interact. (Mao II, published in 1991, discusses the way terrorists use television as a weapon.)
Here’s the first paragraph of Falling Man, which includes a beautifully prototypical DeLillo sentence (it’s the one about the shoes).
It was not a street anymore but a world, a time and space of falling ash and near night. He was walking north through rubble and mud and there were people running past holding towels to their faces or jackets over their heads. They had handkerchiefs pressed to their mouths. They had shoes in their hands, a woman with a shoe in each hand, running past him. They ran and fell, some of them, confused and ungainly, with debris coming down around them, and there were people taking shelter under cars.