Cultural Melancholia: US Trauma Discourses Before and After 9/11, Christina Cavedon frames her examination of 9/11 fiction, especially Jay McInerney’s
The Good Life and Don DeLillo’s
Falling Man, with a thorough discussion of what US reactions to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 disclose about American culture. Offering a comparative reading of pre- and post-9/11 literary, public, and academic discourses, she deconstructs the still commonly held belief that cultural repercussions of the attacks primarily testify to a cultural trauma in the wake of the collectively witnessed media event. She innovatively re-interprets discourses to be symptomatic of a malaise which had afflicted American culture already prior to 9/11 and can best be approached with melancholia as an analytical concept.