Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Colum McCann for the New Yorker

Colum McCann, author of the Let The Great World Spin, has a piece in the New Yorker's September 12th edition this week about 9/11. Also speaking about the towers are David Remnick, Nick Paumgarten (more on this staff writer later), Jonathan Saffron Foer, Lorrie Moore, Zadie Smith, Edwige Danticat, & Elif Batuman. There are stories that turn experience into metaphor (Batuman) and parable (Smith), stories about a child's experience of 9.11(Foer) and a siblings (Moore). After ten years, these authors help give us pause. It's a powerful way to remember our great tragedy.

"When I think about his returning to his empty office and just sitting there, I like to imagine that it was not out of some heartbreakingly robotic sense of duty that might run in our family but, instead, due to the universal human desire to return to the fictional norm; the normal and the everyday are often amazingly unstoppable, and what is unimaginable is the cessation of them."-Moore

McCann's piece was far and away my favorite. He illustrates a woman, the day after the attacks, sitting on the UES eating chocolate cake. It's subtle and beautiful and my favorite bit is what he says at the end. "We do not necessarily need anniversaries when there are things we cannot forget. Yet I also recall this simple sensual moment. I still have no idea-after a decade of wondering-whether I am furious at the woman and the way she ate chocolate cake, or whether it was one of the most audacious acts of grief I've seen in a long, long time."

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