Literature and 9/11

I’ve never been a politically oriented person.  I don’t hold politicians in much high regard, and I do as little as I can to have anything to do with them, though I do vote every chance I get.  (The duties of a citizen rise above the politics of the state.)  I have my own political beliefs, though I’m not going to say anything about them here because that’s not the thrust of this blog.  As a scientist and a currently unpublished novelist, I decided to look back at the literature of 9/11, and leave the politicians and their ilk to wax philosophical all by themselves.  9/11 was a sword to the gut of the United States, no doubt about it, and I hate to see it used as a rallying point for the political aspirations of elected officials.

What brought this subject to my attention was an article, “The Literature of 9/11,” by Kevin Nance in the Sep/Oct 2011 issue of Poets & Writers magazine.  I hadn’t thought too much on the subject, and I enjoyed the article as a summary of the situation.  To put it as simply as possible, there hasn’t been much written about 9/11.  At least not something that has captured the public’s imagination in the way that The Naked and the Dead or Catch-22 or South Pacific did after World War II, or one of my favorites, Charlie Company, did after Vietnam.  We haven’t seen any poetry yet to rival In Flanders’ Fields, either.  As someone who, belatedly I admit, studies literature, I have to say I haven’t read any of the books that have been published on 9/11.  I am familiar with one of the most celebrated books published so far on the subject, Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, but I haven’t read it.  I suspect I will in the next few months, now that I’ve been brought up to date on the issue.  But there are other novels too, and should be read by an informed public.

What about the readers of this blog?  What have you read related to 9/11?  Did they enhance or change your understanding of the reasons behind the attacks?  Or did they leave you looking for answers elsewhere?

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