Claire Harwell hasn't settled into grief; events haven't let her. Cool, eloquent, raising two fatherless children, Claire has emerged as the most visible of the 9/11 widows who became a potent political force in the aftermath of the catastrophe. She longs for her husband, but she has found her mission: she sits on a jury charged with selecting a fitting memorial for the victims of the attack. Of the thousands of anonymous submissions that she and her fellow jurors examine, one transfixes Claire: a garden on whose walls the names of the dead are inscribed. But when the winning envelope is opened, they find the designer is Mohammad Khan - Mo - an enigmatic Muslim-American who, it seems, feels no need to represent anyone's beliefs except his own.
When the design and its creator are leaked, a media firestorm erupts, and Claire finds herself trying to balance principles against emotions amid escalating tensions about the place of Islam in America.
A remarkably bold and ambitious debut, The Submission is peopled with journalists, activists, mourners, and bureaucrats who struggle for advantage and fight for their ideals. In this deeply humane novel, the breadth of Amy Waldman's cast of characters is matched by her startling ability to conjure individual lives from their own points of view. A striking portrait of a city - and a country - fractured by old hatreds and new struggles, The Submission is a major novel by an important new talent.
©2011 AudioGO (P)2011 Amy Waldman
This did not work for me at all as an audiobook and I could not finish it.
One problem was my reaction to the characters... when I found someone insufferable, which was often, this distracted me... the audio would move on, leaving me to miss what came next.
Another annoying aspect of the book is that the voice of the author (not so much the narrator) has a certain overarching air of pretentiousness and self-importance that is sometimes found in people who are, shall we say, steeped a bit too long in the Ivy League? I would be surprised if the author is not a grad of Harvard or Yale, and would not be surprised if she were a graduate of both. This, too, was distracting and probably came across more strongly in the audio version than it would if I were reading it. At least I hope so.
If I do finish the book I will get a hard copy. This story needs to be read at the reader's pace and without the distractions that can come with the audio-book medium. If your pace happens to match that of the audio version, then your experience will be much better than mine.
I found this to be one of the most interesting and challenging books I have read or listened to. Waldman poses a question that is quite relevant today in the light of the Ground Zero Muslim Center controversy. How tolerant are we willing or able to be? I found her characters to be complex and challenging. Few of them were unequivocally moral or likeable but the listener could easily relate to the dilemmas they faced. This is a story that will stick with most readers, I believe.
English major. Love to read
I have to admit, I was engaged with this book for a large part of the time because the writing was solid. The story is unusual and clearly opened up a lot of questions as i read. The situation compelled me to examine my values in its exposition. But it fell short because the characters were too one dimensioal. I never really got to know them which made me not get involved in their struggle. There were so many good elements there but they just didn't connect for a satisfying read. I also felt like the narrator was pretty lifeless.
"The Submission" is an excellent tale of what it means to be an American or Americans as the United States becomes more diverse. It is also an insight into the lives and backgrounds of people striving to create and keep a sense of community during tumultuous times. This is not a story that invites thinking through the issues of culture, religion, community, and nationalism from an academic perspective. It's about people who are contemplating, testing and redefining these ideas and assumptions in real time. From the offices of the mayor of New York City to the neighborhood pharmacy we see people tackling the most sensitive of issues. The story starts out a little slow but it gets better and better. I give this audiobook a 4.5- 5 star ranking.
To be honest, this is probably not a book I would have picked up on my own if I hadn't been asked to read it for a class. But I am so glad I did! It's such a controversial topic that you'd think it would be either a conservative or liberal propaganda book. But it definitely is not; it's a book about what it means to be an American. Normally, you can sense the author's opinion through the text, but Waldman does a fantastic job of telling the story from the characters' perspectives, not hers. Dunne does a great job as a narrator too! She not only gives a lot of emotion to her reading, but also adds personality and a voice to each character (a quality in an audiobook that's not necessary, but I always love). Please don't let the premise of this book turn you off! I promise you won't regret it!
In this fictional work, a committee has been chosen to select the 9/11 memorial to be erected on ground zero in New York City. When the committee reaches consensus on the design to be chosen, everyone is stunned to discover that the artist responsible for the design is a Muslim. An American. And also a Muslim. What follows is outrage, hurt feelings, betrayals and fighting to determine if they are to go forward with a design by a Muslim, or a different design. It was a good book, very topical, and written before the controvery with the Mosque being built near ground zero. I did not like how it ended and was disappointed in how the author wrapped up the story. I won't tell you the ending; you'll have to read that for yourself!
This book takes the complex interactions between culture, religion, politics, social class, family and individual ambitions and weaves them into a beautiful story that leaves you wanting more. Unsuspecting characters come together in moments that weave in and out of cultural understanding as they struggle to communicate across difference. Set within the simmering polarizations in the American psyche, this story shows the wreckage of fanaticism within the context of an increasingly powerful cosmopolitan world ethos. Breathtaking.
I would listen to the audio version for additional character nuance while reading a hard copy.
Listening to the "illegal" widow Asma grow into a virbrant lioness voice against intolerance and bigotry is one of more interesting aspects of The Submission; while the less than honorable reporter Spier is one of the least interesting aspects.
Ms. Dunne's delivery added a deeper personalization of the characters; which in turn enhanced this readers' visualization.
The Submission is an all too uncomfortable; yet, accurate depiction of the people we live among......
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