The novel seems to intertwine tragedy and how we remember tragedy. It’s a very American story, obviously—but the aftermath of September 11 has affected the whole world. Do you think audiences outside America can connect with your story?
I do. As you say, what happened to America has affected so much of the rest of the world—both because of America’s response, and because of the debates about and within Islam that September 11 prompted. America, and the ideals it’s meant to represent, obviously cast a disproportionate shadow globally, and even though the novel is a fictional portrait of the aftermath of 9/11, I think it will resonate with all of the non-Americans who have followed the real-life version.
And many of the novel’s questions are universal: how do you decide what you believe, and how do you act on that? How do you balance loyalty to the dead and the living, to family and country, and to yourself? How do private histories or personal insecurities shape public dramas—and thus the course of history? The Submission is about all of that.
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