New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011
299 p. ; 24 cm ISBN/ISSN:
9780374271565 (cloth : alk. paper), 0374271569 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780374271565, Language:
"When a Muslim architect wins a blind contest to design a Ground Zero Memorial, a city of eleven million people takes notice. Waldman, a former bureau chief for the New York Times, explores a diversity of viewpoints around this fictional event, bringing in politicians, businessmen, journalists, activists, and normal people whose lives--whether by happenstance, choice, or even due to their country of origin--get caught up in the controversy. Incredibly, she manages to keep all the balls in the air without ever fumbling. The story is moving and keeps the pages turning, but there are also bigger themes at work: of individuals versus groups; about the purpose of art, commerce, government, and journalism in society; of how people respond to grief and terror. The result is honest, compelling, and breathtaking."--Chris Schluep, Amazon Best Book of the Month
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It's been two years since the 9/11 terrorists attacks. The panel of jurors to select a design for the Ground Zero memorial for the victims had been so careful to keep the hundreds of submissions anonymous. They meticulously reviewed and voted on each design until they had eliminated all but two. They each weighed in, argued and deliberated over each one. Then the envelope with the name of the contest winner is opened. The winner is an American Muslim architect, Mohammad Khan.
Instantly the news is leaked and New York City is thrown into a frenzy over the controversy. The families of the victims, still grieving for their loved ones, are angry and appalled. The media does whatever possible to distort the flow of information to fuel the fire. And political posturing abounds. In the middle of the firestorm stands "Mo," quiet and confident in his right as an American to submit his design which to him represents hope and healing. The selection committee looks for a way to take the prize away from him.
The author of The Submission, Amy Waldman, is a former bureau chief for the New York Times. So she knows of what she writes. She does a masterful job in taking the reader to the heart of the controversy, seeing the issues from all sides. The characters are so believable that you will almost feel that this is nonfiction.
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