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A desperate fascination

For the last six years, Martin Amis has written obsessively about 9/11 and its global aftermath—often provoking great controversy. A new collection of his writings shows us a writer whose prose remains a delicious challenge, but whose political imagination looks increasingly barren

By Tom Chatfield   February 2008

The Second Plane—September 11: 2001-2007 by Martin Amis Jonathan Cape, £12.99

Eight years into the 21st century, one issue has become a staple of writers’ discussions: what kind of literary response, if any, can be made to the murder of more than 3,000 people in America on 11th September 2001? Horror, war and murder are not new themes for literature. Yet, as commentators pointed out in the wake of the attacks, the written word had rarely felt so superfluous—perhaps because it had never been so decisively secondary to requirements. On 9/11, more televisions than at any previous point in history…

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