Windows on the world by Frederic Beigbeder

Frederic Beigbeder is a french writer ,commentator and lit critic .He word as an advertising executive and work with the french communist party .He also had a talk show on the french tv channel Cannel+ called the hypershow .he has written many novels in french with a couple in translation .This is like many of his books autobiographical in many way .although I enjoyed reading this book I found it hard to review .

Windows on the world is set mainly in new york during the 9/11 attacks and imagines what happened over this time to the people in the windows on the world restaurant .The book is two stories really the first on 9/11 is the tale of a texas estate agent Carthew Yorsten who is having breakfast with his sons in the windows on the world you find out about them ,but I always feel sorry for them as I know what is coming ,maybe that sounds strange but I found it hard to connect with imagined people on this day when I knew what would happen to them .The second story is the writer writing the story and recalling his visits to new York eating at the windows on the world before the attack also,where he was the day of the attacks,I connected more to this section of the book I think Everyone remember what they where doing that day  .The story unfolds minute after minute with each really short chapter defining a minute of the time from the attack to the tower collapsing .


Everyone knows precisely where they were on september 11 ,2001 .Me I was in the basement of my publisher Grasset ,giving an interview for culture pub at 2:56 PM french time ,when the presenter Thomas Herve ,was informed via cellphone that an airplane had Just flown into one of the world trade center towers .At the time ,we both thought it was a small tourist plane and went on with the interview .

the writer remember where he was that awful day .

Well I enjoyed this book any book on 9/11 is hard to talk about ,for me I was getting ready for work that awful day and remember seeing it on tv just before I went to work and being stunned in to disbelief .As my family lived in Ulster and some still do, bombs and troubles are something I got use to hearing about. But 9/11 was terrorism on a new scale ,Frederic has caught and tried in a sympathetic way to connect with his feeling and emotions due to this .I ve read a couple of other 9/11 inspired novels and this is the best I ve read so far but is still flawed ,maybe some subjects need space and time before you can write about them and I think 9/11 is one of these events .the translation is top draw but Frank Wynne is a great translator and this book won the Independent foreign fiction prize in 2005 .

Have you read this book ?

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ingrid
    Dec 08, 2010 @ 20:43:57

    I was young when 9/11 happened and it was fairly traumatizing for me. Thus I don’t really have any interest in reading books about it … definitely a difficult subject


  2. amymckie
    Dec 09, 2010 @ 21:03:23

    This does sound like a really hard book to read and review. Glad you enjoyed it.


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  5. louisianedor
    Jan 24, 2015 @ 14:54:01

    Mon avis :

    Je ne saurais pas dire si ce livre est le meilleur de Frédéric Beigbeder, car à mes yeux, ils sont tous meilleurs les uns que les autres.

    L’histoire est très réaliste, les personnages sont attachants bien qu’il fasse tout pour que l’on déteste la personnalité du personnage principal. C’est un bouquin plein d’émotions, les tentatives de l’auteur pour nous faire rire ou pleurer fonctionnent à tous les coups. Oui, en lisant Windows on the World, on rit et on pleur (au moins une fois si l’on a un minimum de coeur). Tout est extrêmement bien imaginé. L’auteur nous donnent masse de détails sur ce qu’il se passe, et à la fois, nous laisse imaginer par nous même (ce qui parfois est pire, vu le sujet traité). Son écriture est brut et personnelle, il n’hésite pas à donner son avis lui même sur le sujet. C’est un sujet osé et courageux, un livre, comme en a l’habitude Frederic Beigbeder, qui dénonce beaucoup de choses et essaye de comprendre ce qu’il s’est réellement passé, aussi bien dans la tête des gens qui ont provoqué et vécu cette évènement. Personnellement, je n’ai pas lu ce livre d’une traite car il demande réflexion. Je le conseil aux personnes qui aiment réfléchir sur la vie et le monde dans lequel nous vivons. Quant à ceux qui préfèrent les écritures champêtres, ne le lisez pas, vous vous ennuieriez.

    Ce que je lui reproche : Comme d’habitude, Frederic Beigbeder se met en scène dans ses livres. Ce n’est pas mal et au contraire bien souvent (pour ne pas dire tout le temps) son histoire personnelle est reliée à celle du livre, mais dans celui-ci, j’ai trouvé qu’il y avait des passages en trop. Des passages sur sa vie personnelle dont on aurait pu se passer et qui, semble-t-il, on étaient placées là pour grossir un peu le bouquin… Mais puisque l’écriture est clairement, pour lui, un échappatoire, il serait bien égoïste de lui en vouloir.


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December 2010


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