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Terrorism in Contemporary Literature



Terrorism in Contemporary LiteratureIt is a part of life and writers grapple to make sense of it like the rest of the world.   All of the following are well-known authors and you have probably read most of them.


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Name the 8 novels and two short stories:

1. Follows a 39-year-old lawyer who escapes the World Trade Center on
9/11, carrying a briefcase he absently took with him from a  stairwell upon exiting the tower. Falling Man by Don DeLillo

2. An 18-year-old radical Islamist living in New Jersey is coerced by his mentor and friend into driving a truck and detonating a massive explosive in Lincoln Tunnel while his high school guide counselor, whom he picks up on the way, tries to convince him not to go through with it.
The Terrorist by John Updike

3.  Excuse me, sir, but may I be of assistance?  Ah, I see I have alarmed you.  Do not be frightened of my beard:  I am a lover of America.  I noticed that you were looking for something; more that looking, in fact you seemed to be on a mission, and since I am both a native of this city and a speaker of your language, I thought I might offer you my services.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Moshin Hamid

4.  Written in 1985 the author was inspired by the 1983 Harrods bombing in London by the IRA.  In the novel the members of a squad belonging to the Communist Centre Union (CCU) try to persuade first the IRA and then the KGB to let them join them, but they are rejected.  Acting on their own, they target an upmarket hotel in Knightsbridge.
The Good Terrorist by Doris Lessing

5.  Based on the Lima Crisis of 1996, this novel follows a group of terrorists who hold high executives and people of high political standing hostage, exploring how the terrorists and hostages cope with living in a house together for several months.
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett


6. Set in London on February 15,  2003, as a large demonstration is taking place against the United States’ 2003 invasion of Iraq, we follow a 48-year-old neurosurgeon as he goes about his day while pondering the meaning of the protest and the problems that inspired it.
Saturday by Ian McEwan

7. Novel dealing with the trauma and mourning following 9/11 as viewed through the eyes of a nine-year-old boy who lost his father in the attack, with the parallel story of the boy’s grandparents after the Dresden bombings.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

8. Novel pivoting around two privileged couples in Manhattan whose world is rocked by  9/11.  A chance meeting between the wife of one couple and the husband of the other couple, doing volunteer work at ground zero, sets the scene.
The Good Life by Jay McInerney

9. From 110 Stories:  New York Writes After September 11:

I see the plane and I see the plane crash into the building. I see the buildings burn and I see the buildings fall down. . . . My eye struggles to replace the building, to paint it in, to fill in the blank.

We All Saw It, or The View From Home” by A.M. Homes

10. From The New Yorker short story by an English novelist:

On September 11, 2001, he opened his eyes at 4 A.M., in Portland, Maine; and Muhammad Atta’s last day began. He slid from bed and called Abdulaziz. Then to the bathroom, the torment of depilation. He hadn’t been able to move his bowels since May, and there was a solemn mound where his abdominals used to be … In the last decade, only one human had taken pleasure from setting eyes on him, and that was the Sheikh. He thought he would be asked if he was prepared to die. The Sheikh smiled, almost with eyes of love. “I see the answer in your face.”

“The Last Days of Muhammad Atta” by Martin Amis

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