9/11 in Fiction

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Novelists Joseph O’Neill, author of Netherland; Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin; and Julia Glass, author of The Whole World Over, discuss how they addressed 9/11 in their work, the challenges of writing about the attacks and their aftermath, and how 9/11 has influenced their writing, the stories they wanted to tell, and fiction as a whole over the last ten years.


Julia Glass, Colum McCann and Joseph O’Neill

Comments [2]

Elizabeth from Brookly

Look at William Carlos Williams ... It is difficult to get the news from poetry, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there...

apologies for the inaccuracy..

Sep. 08 2011 12:26 PM
Jessie Henshaw from Overlook

Leonard, In looking for the meaning of 9/11 you don't ask your writers, and they don't volunteer, any of the enormous ways that our changing natural world sets the stage. True, science is not so good at putting its findings into prose that people like to read, no.

The stage for 9/11 is partly set by our economic growth and how that inserts our business and institutional interests ever more assertively, everywhere on earth. That makes 9/11 quite clearly a direct symptom of reaching our natural limits of ever increasing control of the earth. It would be totally legitimate to view 9/11 as the expansion of our interests running into a new kind of "hornet's nest", in a far away place.

The enormous surprise was in how something so far beyond our community awareness could so violently react to our presence in their home turf. There was also the recent invention of the tools allowing that vulnerability to develop, and the strange irony of how our mastery of technology ourselves brought with it these mortal flaws, leaving us now so very vulnerable.

If we don't discuss how the world is changing, partly at our hand, we won't see these things coming is the point, and the writers are the ones to give meaning to it. Honestly they seem to be quite neglecting the subject, don't you think?


Sep. 07 2011 02:05 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.