A Guide to the Main Characters through Excerpts
The Architect – Mohammed Khan
Every day brought more proof that the attackers were Muslims, seeking the martyr’s straight shot to paradise—and so Mo braced for suspicion as he returned to the theater under construction. A few days later he realized that the difference wasn’t in how he was being treated but in how he was behaving. Customarily brusque on work sites, he had become gingerly, polite, careful to give no cause for alarm or criticism. He didn’t like this new, more cautious avatar, whose efforts at accommodation hinted at some feeling of guilt, yet he couldn’t quite shake him.
The Widow – Claire Burwell
Aftermath had filled the two years since her husband’s death, the surge of grief yielding to the slow leak of mourning, the tedium of recovery, bathetic new routines that felt old from the get-go. Forms and more forms. Bulletins from the medical examiner: another fragment of her husband had been found.
The Journalist – Alyssa Spier
She had no ideology, believed only in information, which she obtained, traded, peddled, packaged, and published, and she opposed any effort to doctor her product.
The Chairman – Paul Rubin
The longer that space stayed clear, the more it became a symbol of defeat, of surrender, of something for “them,” whoever they were, to mock. A memorial only to America’s diminished greatness, its new vulnerability to attack by a fanatic band, mediocrities in all but murder… Filling in that blank, as much as his wife’s ambitions, was why he had wanted to chair the memorial jury. Its work would mark not only his beloved city, but history, too.
The Brother – Sean Gallagher
The decade prior to the attack had been a herky-jerky improvisation, a man lurching wildly through the white space of adult life.
The Immigrant – Asma Anwar
In the haze that followed, Asma gave statements about her missing husband’s work, his schedule, his habits, his history, to Bangladeshi consular officials, investigators hired by Inam’s employer, the police, the FBI, and the American Red Cross.