I think this might be one of the best novels about the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in New York. It is an examination of politics, grief, prejudice, ignorance, fear and blame and how we redefined all these things after that fateful day. Confronting and insightful this novel explores the world we now live in and all its hypocrisies.

A jury gathers to select a winning design for the 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero. The competition to choose a design was anonymous with the jury made up of eminent New Yorkers as well as a family member of a victim of the attacks. After much deliberation a majority is eventually reached. However controversy erupts when the winning architect is revealed to me a Muslim-American. As the jurors, other family members of victims and the architect himself battle over there own views of right and wrong the media, politicians and others with power and influence manipulate and exploit the situation for their own advantages.

Amy Waldman uses this premise to lay bare the conflicting reactions people have had to the 9/11 terrorist attacks including the contradiction of protecting freedoms and rights by denying others freedoms and rights, the rise of opposing extremist views and how racism and religious intolerance has become acceptable under the banner of patriotism or anti-terrorism. A great book to debate and consider by an impressive debut novelist.

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