One of the things I’m finding interesting in the book is what seems like a dualistic thread between remembering the past and leaving the past to be in the present. On page 22 the doctor gives Keith an injection which is supposed to have a memory suppressing effect, which, I believe, is suppose to help with the trauma. Then on the other hand you have all of the alzheimer patients who are doing their best to remember everything they can. On page 42, Martin is explaining how to attempt to both remember it without letting it linger – not quite forgetting, but not letting it stick:
“There’s another approach, which is to study the matter. Stand apart and think about the elements,” he said. “Coldly, clearly if you’re able to. Do not let it tear you down. See it, measure it.”
“Measure it,” she said.
“There’s the event, there’s the individual. Measure it. Let it teach you something. See it. Make yourself equal to it.”
Martin is offering the advice to both help remember 9/11, but at the same time he’s trying to get across that Lianne shouldn’t let the emotion burden her down as if it was happening again in her mind – or anyone’s mind, since they were just talking about how people were easing their pain in different ways.
Later on, when Keith finds Florence, their initial meeting was a way for them, or at least Florence, to both remember and forget the event. Florence views Keith as her savior from death because when he showed up she was given an opportunity to funnel the grief of the memory. By being someone she could talk to, Keith allowed her to relieve herself from that internal burden, and bringing her back to the present, a present where she is still alive and not trapped by the memories of those who were lost.
I’ll be interested in seeing how these threads of memory, loss, and persistence continue to develop through to the end of the book.
DeLillo, Don. Falling Man. Thorndike, Me.: Center Point Pub., 2007. Print.