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The 9/11 industry


It's 10 years since 9/11 happened and irreversibly changed the world. It also had a dramatic effect on publishing. The first books on 9/11 were mostly devoted to finding out how events played out on that fateful day and digging out facts on Al-Qaeda, which until then was little known. Two of the finest books on the events of the day were Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn's 102 Minutes: The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers, whose title is self-explanatory, and Firehouse by Pulitzer prize-winning journalist David Halberstam, which chronicled the Upper West Side firehouse that sent 13 men to the World Trade Center, and lost all but one of them. The most detailed study on al-Qaeda was The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by another Pulitzer-winning writer Lawrence Wright, which traces the roots of the organization and Osama bin Laden as well as the many intelligence failures.

9/11 figured prominently in fiction too. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer is possibly the bestknown work of 9/11 fiction. It has also been made into a major motion picture, which will be released this year. The novel centres on a nine-year old boy searching for the lock that will open with a key left to him by his father, who died in the World Trade Center. The other great piece of 9/11 fiction is Don DeLillo's Falling Man whose central character is a lawyer who survived the terror attack. There have been several other fiction books, such as Paul Auster's Brooklyn Follies and Ian McEwan's Saturday, where 9/11 looms in the background. There has also been a graphic novel on 9/11, In the Shadow of No Towers by Art Spiegelman (the creator of Maus), which is an unconventional take on the event.

On the tenth anniversary of 9/11 several books have hit the bookstores. Some of the more prominent ones are: The 9/11 Wars by Jason Burke;The Rise and Fall of Al-Qaeda by Fawaz Gerges;Rock the Casbah by Robin Wright;and Amy Waldman's novel, The Submission.


The Booker shortlist is out. Julian Barnes' The Sense of an Ending is the bookies' favourite to win the prize. There are two debut novels on the list: Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman and Snowdrops by A D Miller. Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch, who has been longlisted for the Booker in 2003, Patrick deWitt's The Sisters Brothers and Esi Edugyan's Half Blood Blues complete the list

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