Selected by our Editorial Experts
Longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012.
Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2011.
In this deeply humane novel, the breadth of Amy Waldman's cast of
characters is matched by her startling ability to conjure their
perspectives. A striking portrait of a fractured city striving to make
itself whole, The Submission is a piercing and resonant novel by an
important new talent.
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The Submission by Amy Waldman
Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2011.
Ten years after 9/11, this dazzling, kaleidoscopic novel reimagines its aftermath. A jury gathers in Manhattan to select a memorial for the victims of a devastating terrorist attack. Their fraught deliberations complete, the jurors open the envelope containing the anonymous winner's name - and discover he is an American Muslim. Instantly they are cast into roiling debate about the claims of grief, the ambiguities of art, and the meaning of Islam. Their conflicted response is only a preamble to the country's. The memorial's designer is an enigmatic, ambitious architect named Mohammad Khan. His fiercest defender on the jury is its sole widow, the self-possessed and mediagenic Claire Burwell. But when the news of his selection leaks to the press, she finds herself under pressure from outraged family members and in collision with hungry journalists, wary activists, opportunistic politicians, fellow jurors, and Khan himself - as unknowable as he is gifted. In the fight for both advantage and their ideals, all will bring the emotional weight of their own histories to bear on the urgent question of how to remember, and understand, a national tragedy.
Browse inside this book
Amy Waldman's THE SUBMISSION is a wrenching panoramic novel about the politics of grief in the wake of 9/11. From the aeries of municipal government and social power to the wolfpack cynicism of the press, to the everyday lives of the most invisible of illegal immigrants and all the families that were left behind, Waldman captures a wildly diverse city wrestling with itself in the face of a shared trauma like no other in its history. -- Richard Price With a keen and expert eye of an excellent journalist, Waldman provides telling portraits of all the drama's major players, deftly exposing their foibles and mutual; manipulations. And she has a sense of humour: the novel is punctuated with darkly comic details...[It] would seem richly satirical were it not for the fact that it so closely reflects reality. From this fertile material Waldman fashions her compelling ensemble piece...Elegantly written and tightly plotted...In these unnerving times in which Waldman has seen facts take the shape of her fiction, [this] novel, at once lucid, illuminating and entertaining is a necessary gift. -- Claire Messud New York Times Book Review There's nothing meek about Amy Waldman's high-powered debut...The Submission is a searching, cerebral novel with the pitch and pace of a thriller...It's as driven as its ambitious protagonists. Amy Waldman is an experienced journalist, and her biting sketches of cynical hacks and scripted shock-jocks ring true, as she scrutinises the link between art works and their creators. Acute and exhilarating. Daily Mail An absorbing, accomplished debut...Waldman [has a] feel for novelistic light and shade and an instinct for chasing down telling, surprising details...Waldman's sensitivity to the multidimensionality of the issues is matched by an observant eye for the details of social interaction...This knack for shaping scenes, along with judicious intercutting between various elements, make Waldman's novel an intelligent, satisfying read Sunday Times Amy Waldman writes like a possessed angel. She also has the emotional smarts to write a story about Islam in America that fearlessly lasers through all our hallucinatory politics with elegant concision. This is no dull and worthy saga; it's a literary breakthrough that reads fast and breaks your heart. -- Lorraine Adams
About the Author
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 and is anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010. She lives with her family in Brooklyn. This is her first novel.
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