We learn a little more about John and his history here. In this chapter he sets out on a rare journey outside the comfort and safety of his home to try and somehow make amends for the terrible thing he’s caused.
I wasn’t there on 9/11, but I worked in Manhattan for about 8 years in the 80s and early 90s, and I have many friends and much history in the great city of New York. I visited in early 2003, and walked every location mentioned in the book, including this one.
This might be a good opportunity to talk about an important aspect of this book; it’s important to me, in any case. I’ve always been aware that there would be some readers who would be offended by any depiction of the tragedy of 9/11 in a work of popular fiction. (Among people who’ve actually read the book, so far this number has been very, very small.) When I began to write this story in 2002, absolutely no one would have recommended this subject matter as the basis for a novel, and certainly not for a first novel by an unknown author. That didn’t matter to me. This wasn’t begun as a commercial endeavor. After it was finished in 2004, I never submitted the manuscript to a single agent or publisher; though I loved the book, I assumed that it would be too controversial to handle for the majority of mainstream publishers. So I originally self-published the book, and was satisfied to simply have it out there in the world, even if only in that small way.
So why put two years into a project with no real hope of a return on the investment? Because I believed the message was important: that the very rights we’re being asked to gradually give up in the name of security may be the only things that can possibly save us in the long term, so we need to hold onto them for our lives. Some readers may miss that message, I’ve been warned, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.