Anyone writing a 21st-century novel about New York-—one where the city functions as a bona fide character, not just a backdrop-—faces two thematic hurdles from the get-go. First is the tired yet timeless conceit of Manhattan-as-monster: that soul-sucking, power-drunk, steel-and-concrete beast that will enslave you as Anna Wintour's Prada-pimping flunky or a beleaguered, diary-scribbling nanny—at least until your film rights are sold. The second (not unrelated to the first) is 9/11 and its wake. Don DeLillo and Jonathan Safran Foer tackled the latter head-on, with some success. But for any work set in the present, the event's shadow is nearly unavoidable; six years on, it sits perched between history, myth, and reality, as immense as the... More >>>