Postmodern fragments

Don DeLillo’s postmodern novel on the effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks has a fragmented plot structure which at first makes it quite demanding for the reader. 

Shifts in person, place and time

Throughout the novel, the perspective from which we see things changes again and again between Keith, Lianne and the terrorist Hammad. But there are also frequent shifts in time. Some sections of chapters take place right after the attacks, others weeks, months and even years after (see chapter summaries for details). Events are thus not ordered in a strictly chronological order, but described through individual storylines and timelines. 

The timeline is thus non-linear, whereas the chapters on Hammad follow his development in three clearly divided stages, from beginning to end. The place shifts correspondingly; one minute we’re in Lianne’s kitchen, and the next we’re in the middle of a poker tournament.

The significance of the structure

The comp...

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