Literature about 9/11: Recommendations

In 2005, I read nearly 30 fiction and nonfiction books about 9/11 (Link) for a long essay/feature for the German literature e-zine “lit05.de” (Link).

Since then, I continued to read literature about the 2001 attacks: Some great books, a lot of mediocre stuff – and lots of obscure or over-hyped titles.

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Coming up: The best – and worst – 9/11 related fiction and nonfiction:

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Five novels that I can recommend:

– FRÉDÉRIC BEIGBEDER: ‘Windows on the World’, 2003 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER: ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’, 2005 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– JOYCE MAYNARD: ‘The Usual Rules’, 2004 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– JOSEPH O’NEILL: ‘Netherland’, 2008 (rather loose connection to 9/11, Link)

– BRIAN K. VAUGHN: ‘Ex Machina’, 2004 to 2010 (Graphic Novels, Link)

.

Windows on the World Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close The Usual Rules: A Novel Netherland Ex Machina (Volume 1): The First Hundred Days

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Five personal essays that I can recommend:

– ELSE BUSCHHEUER: http://www.else-buschheuer.de: Das New York Tagebuch, 2002 (Link, German)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– ISABEL ALLENDE: ‘My invented Country’, 2003 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– NOAM CHOMSKY: ‘9-11’ / ‘The Attack’, 2001 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– DAVID WYATT: ‘And the War came’, 2004 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– MITCHELL FINK: ‘Never Forget: An Oral History of September 11’ (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

WWW.Else-Buschheuer.de: Das New York Tagebuch (Kiwi) My Invented Country The Attack: Hintergrunde und Folgen And the War Came: An Accidental Memoir Never Forget: An Oral History of September 11
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Personal Essays and Nonfiction that I can’t recommend:

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– RAFIK SCHAMI: ‘Mit fremden Augen: Tagebuch’, 2002 (German, Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– KATHRIN RÖGGLA: ‘really ground zero’, 2001 (German, Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link. It’s fun if you like young German literature…)

– LILY BRETT: ‘Between Mexico and Poland’, 2002 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– ORIANA FALLACI: ‘The Rage and the Pride’, 2001 (Link)

(horrible Italian right-wing author, I reviewed it here, Link)

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Survivor Tales (most of them not *that* good…):

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– RICHARD PICCHIOTTO: ‘Last Man Down: A Firefighter’s Story of Survival and Escape from the World Trade Center’, 2002 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– JOANN B. NAMORATO: ‘The Long Road Home: Memories after September 11th’ , 2002 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– ABD SAMAD MOUSSAOUI: ‘Zacarias Moussaoui: Mein Bruder’, 2002 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– ANNIE THOMS: ‘With their Eyes: September 11th – The View from a High School at Ground Zero’, 2002 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– ALISSA TORRES: ‘American Widow’, 2008 (Graphic Novel; pretty bad, Link)

.

Collections and Journalism (hit-and-miss):

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– RICHARD BERNSTEIN: ‘Out of the Blue: A Narrative of September 11th, 2001’, 2002 (Link)

(quite good – I reviewed it here, Link)

– ULRICH BAER: ‘110 Stories: New York writes after September 11th, 2001’, 2002 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– PAUL AUSTER u.a.: ‘Dienstag, 11. September 2001’, 2001 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– JACK CANFIELD: ‘Chicken Soup for the Sould of America’, 2002 (Link)

(pretty bad: I reviewed it here, Link)

– NEIL GAIMAN u.a.: ‘9-11: Artists Respond’, 2002 (Comic Anthology, pretty bad, Link)

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Don’t bother: 6 bad 9/11-related novels:

.

– NICHOLSON BAKER: ‘Checkpoint’, 2005 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– DON DeLILLO: ‘Falling Man’, 2007 (Link)

– JAY McINERNEY: ‘The Good Life’, 2006 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– JOHN UPDIKE: ‘Terrorist’, 2006 (Link)

– ROLAND SPRANGER: ‘ThRAX’, 2002 (German, Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– FRANZISKA PEDERSEN: ‘Der 11. September oder: Die Geschichte von Lukas und Saira’, 2002 (German, Link)

(horrible book; I reviewed it here, Link)

.

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private drama: novels about people who were not involved in the attacks

(in some reviews, these books appear to be books about 9/11... they’re not. Incidentally, none of these books is particularly good / recommended, either:)

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– IAN McEWAN: ‘Saturday’, 2005 (Link)

– JOANNA SMITH RAKOFF: ‘A fortunate Age’, 2009 (Link)

– PETER CAMERON: ‘Someday this Pain will be useful to you’, 2007 (Link)

– KEITH GESSEN: ‘All the sad young literary Men’, 2008 (Link)

– IAIN BANKS: ‘Dead Air’, 2002 (Link)

– FRANZISKA GERSTENBERG: ‘Wie viel Vögel’, 2003 (German short story collection, Link: Story ‘Glückskekse’)

– NICK McDONELL: ‘The Third Brother’, 2006 (Link)

(I wrote about it here, Link)

– WILLIAM GIBSON: ‘Pattern Recognition’, 2002 (Link)

(I wrote about it here, Link)

– AUDREY NIFFENEGGER: ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’, 2003 (Link)

(I wrote about it here, Link)

– CLAIRE MESSUD: ‘The Emperor’s Children’, 2006 (Link)

(I wrote about it here, Link)

– HEIDI JULAVITS: ‘The Effects of Living Backwards’, 2003 (Link)

(I wrote about it here, Link)

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A Culture of Fear: (good!) novels from the 2000s that deal with terrorism and the climate of a post 9/11 world:

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– CHRISTIAN KRACHT: ‘1979’, 2001 (German, written before 2001, Link)

– MEG ROSOFF: ‘How I live now’, 2004 (Link)

– FIONA MAAZEL: ‘Last Last Chance’, 2008 (excellent; Link)

– GREG RUCKA: ‘Queen & Country’ Vol. 1, 2001 (an espionage Graphic Novel set in Afghanistan, written in early 2001. Excellent research/tone… and very prophetic. Link)

– GREG RUCKA: ‘Queen & Country: A Gentleman’s Game’, 2004 (a novel that’s part of the same espionage series and deals with terrorist bombings at the London underground, written in 2004. Very, VERY prophetic. Link)

– JEPH LOEB: ‘Superman: Our Worlds at War’, 2001 (a mediocre 2001 graphic novel, written before the attacks… but dealing with ALL the major political issues. Eerily propheric. Link)

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1979 How I Live Now Last Last Chance: A Novel Queen & Country: The Definitive Edition, Volume 1 A Gentleman's Game: A Queen & Country Novel Superman: Our Worlds at War

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and: 4 books about 9/11 that I WANT to read:

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– ART SPIEGELMAN: ‘In the Shadow of no Towers’, 2004 (Graphic Novel, Link)

– DAMON DiMARCO: ‘Tower Stories’, 2004 (Oral History, Link)

– NICHOLAS RINALDI: ‘Between two Rivers’, 2004 (Link)

– ANJA REICH / ALEXANDER OSANG: ‘Wo warst du? Ein Septembertag in New York’, 2011 (Link)

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In the Shadow of No Towers Tower Stories: The Autobiography of September 11th Between Two Rivers: A Novel Wo warst du? Ein Septembertag in New York
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Related Links:

  • ‘Underdog Literature’: 23 book recommendations for August 2011 (Link)
  • ‘No need to read?’: 40 disappointing literary classics (Link)

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