The submission

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THE SUBMISSION

THE

SUBMISSION
AMY WALDMAN

FARRAR, STRAUS AND GIROUX

NEW YORK

Farrar, Straus and Giroux 18 West 18th Street, New York 10011 Copyright © 2011 by Amy Waldman All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America First edition, 2011 The poem quoted in the epigraph is from Kabul, 1969. Portions of this novel have previously been published in slightlydifferent form in

The Afghans, by Mohammed Ali,

The Atlantic.

Waldman, Amy, 1969The submission / Amy Waldman. - 1st ed. p. em. ISBN 978-0-374-27156-5 (cloth : alk. paper) 1. September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001-Social aspects­ Fiction. I. Title. PS3623.A35675S83 2011 813'.6-dc22 2011007509 Designed by Jonathan D. Lippincott www.fsgbooks.com 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 2. Memorials-Designs andplans-Fiction.

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.

To my parents, Don and Marilyn Waldman

Like the cypress tree, which holds its head high and is free within the confines of a garden, I, too, feel free in this world, and I am not bound by its attachments. -anunidentified Pashto poet

1
"The names," Claire said. "What about the names?" "They're a record, not a gesture," the sculptor replied. Ariana's words brought nods from the other artists, the critic, and the two purveyors of public art arrayed along the dining table, united beneath her sway. She was the jury's most famous figure, its dominant personality, Claire's biggest problem. Ariana hadseated herself at the head of the table, as if she were presiding. For the previous four months they had deliberated at a table that had no head, being round. It was in an office suite high above the gouged earth, and there the other jurors had deferred to the widow's desire to sit with her back to the window, so that the charnel ground below was only a gray blur when Claire walked to her chair.But tonight the jury was gathered, for its last arguments, at Gracie Mansion's long table. Ariana, without consultation or, it appeared, compunction, had taken pride of place, giving notice of her intent to prevail. "The names of the dead are expected; required, in fact, by the com­ petition rules," she continued. For such a scouring woman, her voice was honeyed. "In the right memorial, the nameswon't be the source of the emotion." "They will for me," Claire said tightly, taking some satisfaction in the downcast eyes and guilty looks along the table. They'd all lost, of course­ lost the sense that their nation was invulnerable; lost their city's most recognizable icons; maybe lost friends or acquaintances. But only she had lost her husband. She wasn't above reminding them of that tonight,when they would at last settle on the memorial. They had winnowed five thousand en­ tries, all anonymous, down to two. The final pruning should have been

4

AMY WA L DMAN

easy. But after three hours of talk, two rounds of voting, and too much wine from the mayor's private reserve, the conversation had turned ragged, snappish, repetitive. The Garden was too beautiful, Ariana and the otherartists kept saying of Claire's choice. They saw for a living, yet when it came to the Garden they wouldn't see what she saw. The concept was simple: a walled, rectangular garden guided by rigorous geometry. At the center would be a raised pavilion meant for contemplation. Two broad, perpendicular canals quartered the six-acre space. Pathways within each quadrant imposed a grid on the trees, bothliving and steel, that were studded in orchard-like rows. A white pe­ rimeter wall, twenty-seven feet high, enclosed the entire space. The vic­ tims would be listed on the wall's interior, their names patterned to mimic the geometric cladding of the destroyed buildings. The steel trees reincarnated the buildings even more literally: they would be made from their salvaged scraps. Four drawings...
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