Monday, August 27, 2007

The Savage Quiet September Sun

It's hard to believe that the sixth anniversary of 9/11 is just about upon us. For the survivors or those who lost loved ones, it must still seem like yesterday. The world of film and literature has had a few big-name entries that deal with the subject: Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, Adam Sandler's Reign Over Me were recent films, and Don DeLillo's new novel Falling Man, which got a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

But there is also a smaller book on the subject, a collection of twelve stories written by New Yorker Victor Lana. Lana's bio says that he "lost a family member and friends on 9/11" and you can tell by the honesty of the writing how much it hit home. Lana's characters deal with 9/11 and its aftermath: the confusion, anger, grief, guilt, paranoia, and overall coping that were results of the tragedy. I don't know how autobiographic some of the stories are, but it must have been cathartic for him to write these tales.

Some of the highlights for me: In "Nisa," a divorced man's new friendship with a young Middle Eastern woman prevents him from slipping into an all too easy prejudice against Arabs, and helps him realize what's important in his life. In "Dust to Dust," a seemingly harmless office prank has serious repercussions for several of the people involved. "From the North Tower to Eternity" has a still disgruntled ex-worker show up in his former boss's office on the morning of 9/11 with the intent to kill him. But fate has other ideas. In "Our Flag Was Still There" a man who co-owns several beach cottages in Long Island with his brother is convinced the three men who rented one of the cottages are terrorists. No one, including his brother, believes him. So he takes matters into his own hands.

This book is available on Amazon. New Yorkers also can pick it up at New Voices Bookstore, located in the East Village in Manhattan.

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