The Submission by Amy Waldman: July 2012 book of the month
You can almost taste The Big Apple from the first page of The Submission, our July Book of the Month. Sharp, snappy dialogue. Crisp sentences. Energy. But this is New York at a point where its identity has been shattered: the aftermath of 9/11.
A committee has come together to decide on the most fitting memorial to the city's dead. Claire, the only widow in the group, has fought for a beautiful garden that she feels will give healing to the bereaved. But when they open the winning envelope, they find the previously anonymous designer is an American Muslim.
The committee's response, and that of the journalists, activists, politicians and commentators, is as conflicted and emotional as the country's overall struggle to deal with the tragedy. Mohammed Khan, the enigmatic architect, is also battling with fear, ambition and faith.
Each character has a brilliantly distinctive voice and Amy Waldman manages to understand and elucidate every perspective of the debate. All sorts of issues are tackled here: grief, the purpose of Art, nationalism, Islam, politics. But the book never feels worthy or journalistic. It moves fast, it is fantastically diverse and it has a strong beating heart. Just like NYC.
Book club discussion: Tuesday 31 July, 9-10pm
We are delighted that Amy will be joining us to chat about The Submission, New York and her writing career on Tuesday 31 July, 9-10pm. If you'd like to get involved in the discussion you can buy a paper copy of The Submission here or if you would like to get started right away an e-book version of the novel is available here.
Amy Waldman was co-chief of the South Asia bureau of the New York Times. Her fiction has appeared in The Atlantic and the Boston Review. This is her first novel. She lives with her family in Brooklyn.
Last updated: about 3 years ago