In his 14th novel, Don DeLillo addresses universal themes through the particularity of two lives affected by the events of 9/11. The omniscient narrator flits between Keith Neudecker and his estranged wife, Lianne, as they try to come to terms with the personal and national trauma of that day.
On a rainy Georgia night near the end of the Civil War, a soldier named Arly, who is more interested in survival than piety, addresses God about his young companion Will, who “thinks an army at war is a reasonable thing. . . . He thinks we live in a sane life and time, which you know as well as I is not what you designed for us sinners.”
Many novels have been written from the point of view of someone railing against an oppressive religious upbringing. Few, however, are as funny yet sympathetic as Miriam Toews’s outstanding third novel, which won last year’s Governor General’s Award in Canada. Toews beat out Alice Munro for the prize—no mean feat.
One of the rewards of reading Louise Erdrich’s fiction is that she takes us into a world few people know, that of the Ojibwe people, who follow traditional ways while also living under the influence of Christianity.