I have a very shaky (metaphorical) relationship with Don DeLillo. On one hand I admire the tension that is present in his novels. On the other hand I tend to drift off while reading them. Underworld was a great novel, However I felt it way overlong, I couldn’t stand White Noise but i did like The Body Artist but I felt that I would never tackle a DeLillo again.
Now he has reappeared in my life for a fourth time.
Falling Man, though has got to be DeLillo’s most human novel to date (well at least from the ones I read) the cold atmosphere of the previous novels are gone and yet the intense use of detail still remains. To give a short summary, the novel is about a 9/11 survivor who returns to his ex wife and kids. As Keith Settles down and gets used to readjusting his life again he starts to tour the world as a professional poker player.
In the meantime his ex wife’s world starts to crumble. Her neighbour annoys her. The reading group she sets up for Alzheimer patients falls apart and she spends more time with her mother. During this she watches a performance artist called The Falling Man, who’s act consists of dangling himself from skyscrapers.
To be honest the same old problem with DeLillo began to occur. I got bored read, especially during the tedious second half. Sometimes I find DeLillo too intense for his own good and it happens in Falling Man. By the end of the book I felt unsatisfied. True it is about humans adapting and overcoming themselves but isn’t Jonathan Franzen’s ‘The Corrections’ about that and written in a more interesting way?