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.
The title, which refers to a performance artist in a business suit who falls at various locations in New York City while attached to a harness, also carries theological connotations of the “fall of man.” Though DeLillo does not explicitly address this connotation, he does refer to his characters’ beliefs about God.
The novel begins with Keith walking out of one of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11, with “glass in his hair and face, marbled bolls of blood and light.” He goes to the apartment where Lianne lives with their small son, Justin. Throughout the book Keith suffers a certain lethargy and seeks connection in various ways.