Windows on the World

by Frederic Beigbeder | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0007184697 Global Overview for this book
Registered by HoserLauren of Burlington, Ontario Canada on 3/18/2007
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Sunday, March 18, 2007
I picked this up at a box sale at Book Closeouts. This could be a touchy subject for some but I'm interested in reading it.

From Amazon:
"You know how it ends: everybody dies." Thus begins Beigbeder's gripping apocalyptic novel, which takes place on September 11, 2001 - the date on which New York realtor Carthew Yorston has taken his seven- and nine-year-old sons for a long-promised breakfast at the eponymous eatery atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Alternating with Smith's narration is the voice of Beigbeder himself - or a thinly disguised version of the French author - musing about the tragedy one year later over his own breakfast in Le Ciel de Paris, on the 56th floor of the Tour Montparnasse, the tallest building in Paris. Each chapter of the novel represents one minute on that fateful morning, from 8:30 to 10:29; nearly all are less than three pages, and several prove startling in their brevity ("In the Windows, the few remaining survivors intone Irving Berlin's 'God Bless America' (1939)"). Both men riff on everything from trivia to politics and make often poignant philosophical observations. Abundant doses of gallows humor at once add levity and underscore the drama. Yorston's overheard snatches of fatuous cell-phone conversations, for example, would be funny in another context, while the enforced exit of a cigar-smoking guest at Windows on the World "thereby proves that a cigar can save your life." Though some readers may be put off by this novel's subject matter, Beigbeder invests his narrators with such profound humanity that the book is far more than a litany of catastrophe: it is, on all levels, a stunning read.

Journal Entry 2 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Tuesday, July 24, 2007
This book starts off quite simple and to the point. "You know how it ends: everybody dies". The book has the potential to be a great work of art, or to upset people and open still healing wounds. The book is split in two, alternating chapters between a fictional account of a man and his two children who go have breakfast at Windows on the World the fated day of September 11th, 2001, and an autobiography of the author Frederic Beigbeder. It is a translation from French, and unfortunately not a great translation.

At first, it's unclear what Beigbeder sets out to prove about himself. His writing leads you to believe he's writing about how his life has changed since 9/11 (he's a Frenchman and even talks about the American dislike for the French). But then it seems like he can't make up his mind. Is he writing about the current ways of the world? Is he writing about history? Is he writing about himself (because he does come off kind of egotistical)? It gets to the point where I skim through these chapters. Beigbeder just cannot keep my attention because it seems he can hardly keep his own attention. Every chapter is about something different.

The other story, however, is quite touching. How many of us have wondered what it would be like, god forbid, if we were trapped in the World Trade Center? Is it morbid to think it? Probably, but didn't the events of 9/11 prove that it's possible for anyone to be in the same situation? Carthew is an extremely flawed man. His wife has divorced him because he cheated on her and he has led an adulterer life. He has two children that he loves, but he is too self-absorbed to recognize the light that his children could give him in life. Carthew eventually comes to realization that his life has been pretty much wasted and that he is grateful for his kids, even though he brought them into the world only to die shortly after. This book is about the hope, despair, love, hate, faith, anger, and any other emotion you could think of.

"The two badly behaved children have reminded her that she needs to buy a present for her grandson's birthday ... She thinks she remembers seeing a branch of Toys R Us ... this is what she is thinking as the doors to the elevator close noiselessly. For the rest of her life, she will believe it was the Lord God who told her to leave at this precise moment; for the rest of her life she will wonder why He did so, why He spared her life, why He made her think of toys, why He chose her and not those two little boys."

Journal Entry 3 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Sunday, September 30, 2007
This box is destined for my Boxing Day Partner as I think she might be interested in it :)

Journal Entry 4 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Saturday, November 10, 2007
mailed today to my Boxing Day partner

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