Ten years after 9/11, a 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.
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.
Amy Waldman is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where she has extensive experience covering Islam, the Muslim world, and the many faces of the War on Terror. She spent eight-and-a-half years as a reporter for The New York Times, including three in New Delhi as co-chief of the South Asia bureau. She was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in 2007, and has won an Overseas Press Club Award for her reporting. She was born in Los Angeles, studied English at Yale and now lives in Brooklyn.