The Submission: A Novel (Paperback)

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I picked this book because I was intrigued by the sly double-entendre of the title. Two years after 9/11, a New York committee selects a beautiful and peaceful garden design among the blind submissions as a World Trade Center memorial. Big surprise: the winning designer is a Muslim American and his design may or may not be inspired by historical Islamic "martyrs' gardens." Along the way, we get multiple characters' perspectives and an ending that, while lacking social justice, is fairly realistic.

— From Emily's Picks

Description


A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year
An Entertainment Weekly Best Novel of the Year
An NPR Top Ten Novel of the Year
A Washington Post Notable Book of the Year
Esquire Book of the Year

A jury chooses a memorial for the victims of a devastating terrorist attack on Manhattan, only to learn that the anonymous designer is an American Muslim -- an enigmatic architect named Mohammad Khan. His selection reverberates across a divided, traumatized country and, more intimately, through individual lives. Claire Burwell, the sole widow on the jury, becomes Khan's fiercest defender. But when the news of his selection becomes public, she comes under pressure from outraged family members and into collision with hungry journalists, opportunistic politicians, and even Khan himself. A story of clashing convictions and emotions, and a cunning satire of political ideals, Amy Waldman's The Submission is a resonant novel for our times.

About the Author


Amy Waldman was co-chief of the South Asia bureau of The New York Times. Her fiction has appeared in The Atlantic and the Boston Review and is anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010. She lives with her family in Brooklyn. The Submission is her first novel.

Praise For…


“The Submission reads as if the author had embraced Tom Wolfe's famous call for a new social realism...and in doing so has come up with a story that has more verisimilitude, more political resonance, and way more heart than Mr. Wolfe's own 1987 bestseller, The Bonfire of the Vanities.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times Book Review

“Addictively readable...Not unlike The Wire's David Simon...Waldman has an eye for the less sound bite-worthy but crucial ways in which ideology and influence make their imprint on the world.” —Vogue

“Elegantly written and tightly plotted . . . With the keen and expert eye of an excellent journalist, Waldman provides telling portraits of all the drama's major players, deftly exposing their foibles and their mutual manipulations. And she has a sense of humor: the novel is punctuated with darkly comic details [which] would seem richly satirical were it not for the fact that they so closely reflect reality.” —Claire Messud, The New York Times Book Review

“Moving . . . Eloquent . . . A coherent, timely and fascinating examination of a grieving America's relationship with itself. Waldman . . . excels at involving the reader in vibrant dialogues in which the level of the debate is high and the consequences significant.” —Chris Cleave, The Washington Post

“Masterful . . . [A] scathing, dazzlingly crafted indictment of the messes people make when they mistake ideology for morality and bigotry for patriotism . . . Waldman, an ex-New York Times bureau chief, unspools her story with the truth-bound grit of a seasoned journalist and the elegance of a born novelist.” —Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

“Propulsive and thoughtful . . . [A] smart and sensitive work of fiction.” —Mark Athitakis, Star-Tribune (Minneapolis)

“Devastating . . . An excellent debut novel . . . The Submission is an exceedingly accomplished novel. The pacing, dialogue, characters and plot are absorbing from the start. Waldman populates her work with a dozen realistic characters.” —Anne Trubek, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

“A novel whose time has come . . . [Amy Waldman's] debut novel is a sharp work with complex characters and an unflinching skepticism about human motivation. Waldman recognizes the tragedy of 9/11 without indulging in sentimentality . . . Much of the power in Waldman's writing comes from her ability to gradually reveal layer upon layer of her characters' circumstances, creating a continual sense of enlightenment as the story progresses.” —M.L. Johnson, Associated Press

“[A] gripping, deeply intelligent novel . . . Panoramic in scope but thrillingly light on its feet . . . Waldman does a masterful job of getting into the heads of New Yorkers . . . [A] dazzling tapestry of a grieving city.” —Kimberly Cutter, Marie Claire

“Waldman, a former South Asia bureau co-chief for the Times, has antennae well tuned to the media circus. Perhaps it's her reporter's skill that makes her so nimble at sketching in characters; she's a penetrating psychologist, especially for a first novelist. She weaves together a half-dozen stories, from the top to the bottom of New York's social strata, and keeps them moving briskly forward; you never want to stop reading.” —Craig Seligman, Bloomberg News

“In her magnetizing first novel, replete with searing insights and exquisite metaphors, Waldman, formerly a New York Times reporter and co-chief of the South Asia bureau, maps shadowy psychological terrain and a vast social minefield as conflicted men and women confront life-and-death moral quandaries within the glare and din of a media carnival. Waldman brilliantly delineates the legacy of 9/11; the confluence of art, religion, and politics; the plexus between the individual and the group; and the glory of transcendent empathy in The Bonfire of the Vanities for our time.” —Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)

“[An] emotionally and politically rich novel . . . The Submission raises wrenching post-9/11 questions about what it means to be an American . . . [Waldman's] novel transcends ideological politics.” —Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today

“Fascinating . . . Brilliant . . . The genius of Waldman's novel is that it captures the manner in which a member of a group that has become part of an ideological tussle will often come to be stripped of his humanity and viewed as a symbol . . . A searing personal saga.” —Rayyan Al-Shawaf, New York Press

“[The Submission] accomplishes the rare feat of being prescient after the fact, a counterfactual novel that turns out to be accurate in all the details that matter . . . [Waldman is] as convincing in an apartment full of Bangladeshi immigrants as she is among the martini-quaffing suits in midtown . . . A New Yorker might well read The Submission before bed and wake up the next morning believing it actually happened.” —Jess Row, New York

“[A] provocative and smartly conceived book.” —Bob Hoover, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“[A] poised and commanding debut novel . . . A remarkably assured portrait of how a populace grows maddened and confused when ideology trumps empathy. A stellar debut. Waldman's book reflects a much-needed understanding of American paranoia in the post-9/11 world.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Amy Waldman's The Submission is a wrenching panoramic novel about the politics of grief in the wake of 9/11. From the aeries of municipal government and social power, to the wolf-pack cynicism of the press, to the everyday lives of the most invisible of illegal immigrants and all the families that were left behind, Waldman captures a wildly diverse city wrestling with itself in the face of a shared trauma like no other in its history.” —Richard Price, author of Freedomland and Lush Life

“Waldman fluidly blends her reporter's skill . . . at rapid-fire storytelling with a novelist's gift for nuanced characterization. She dares readers to confront their own complicated prejudices steeped in faith, culture, and class. This is an insightful, courageous, heartbreaking work that should be read, discussed, then read again.” —Sally Bissell, Library Journal (starred review)

“Amy Waldman writes like a possessed angel. She also has the emotional smarts to write a story about Islam in America that fearlessly lasers through all our hallucinatory politics with elegant concision. This is no dull and worthy saga; it's a literary breakthrough that reads fast and breaks your heart.” —Lorraine Adams, author of Harbor and The Room and the Chair

“Frighteningly plausible and tightly wound . . . Waldman addresses with a refreshing frankness thorny moral questions and ethical ironies without resorting to breathless hyperbole.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A gorgeously written novel of ideas...The Submission is sure to generate a lot of discussion in book clubs across the land.” —NPR's Fresh Air

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250007575
ISBN-10: 1250007577
Publisher: Picador
Publication Date: March 27th, 2012
Pages: 352
Language: English