Forgetting and remembering

One of the themes that pervade the novel is that of forgetting and remembering. Each of the main characters is in his or her own way busy either trying to forget the past in an attempt to move on, or trying to avoid forgetting the past.

Trying to forget

The main character, Keith Neudecker, tries hard to forget his traumatizing experiences on September 11th when he made his way out of the north tower of the World Trade Center, but had to leave behind his good friend and colleague Rumsey. He soon starts playing poker in an attempt to escape his own thoughts about what happened. When he meets a ghost from the past, Terry Cheng, he tries to avoid him as well, because he doesn’t want to be reminded of the friends they lost in the attacks.

The terrorist, Hammad, also represses his memories of a normal life with family and a girlfriend in order to be able to dedicate himself to the project of jihad. Forgetting is therefore essenti...

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