BOOK REVIEW of September Day - A novel

Rather than review this novel myself, I thought that a review from someone who is politically middle of the road might be more useful. Ken, A keen book-reading friend, has therefore read the book and commented as under:

"September Day is a dramatisation of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York, the aftermath and subsequent "war against terror".

Despite his claim that this is a work of fiction and that ".similarities to actual persons or events are purely a result of the author's imagination" it is impossible to ignore the real names and thinly disguised characters and events which are so familiar to us, and therefore to allow this knowledge to colour the narrative.

The book is essentially a fast-moving thriller, written in the modern idiom of staccato sentences and short, double-spaced paragraphs. The author has cleverly woven together facts that have been widely reported, with fictionalised private lives of the real people caught up in the tragedy. He has stuck closely to reported facts and details while filling in the missing intrigues with imaginative and, for the most part, feasible fiction. The result is a page-turner of a novel that manages to maintain tension and suspense even though we are all too familiar with the actual outcomes.

I found a disturbing dichotomy in the representation of the fictionalised protagonists; the western hero's appear as stereotypical "all American" patriots who face danger and certain death with stoic rationalism in the noble traditions of "truth, justice and The American Way", whilst the Muslim heroes (who behave with exactly the same chauvinistic behaviour) are portrayed as either manipulated zealots or sycophants who voice their disapproval of bin Laden's fanaticism in italicised asides to the reader.

The main characters are fairly shallowly drawn, but in the context of the fast moving action this is probably not a serious criticism except that it is quite difficult to rationalise their reactions to the extreme circumstances they find themselves in without being able to identify with them fully and sympathetically. The young computer genius was the only character who felt real to me even when his anarchic persona (he was recruited from a serious virus case in a plea bargain) turns out to mask an unlikely patriotism.

The novel has an ambitious range, beginning with the American embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam and taking in the reported stock exchange transactions that netted fortunes to those who had inside knowledge. The author's speculation about the overall plan and the various events and intrigues which allowed some of the intended sequences to misfire, and others to become ineffective, is insightful and totally believable.

Whether or not the book is inflammatory or politically correct is questionable but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it as a work of "faction". I was kept suitably enthralled until the last page, not knowing where or how the narrative would resolve. I was not disappointed and would recommend the book rather as a novel than a record of historical events."

(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Page. Email me (John Ray) here.)

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