By: David Lewellyn
Published by: Seren
Eleven is a novel told entirely in the patter of a thread of inner-office emails. We experience the characters of the book through the emails they send; and some of the emails they don’t send (saved as drafts). It is an interesting way to structure a book and allows for many unreliable narrators to lead a mismatched series of events.
The emails are sent over one day, specifically September 11th 2001. We see the normal life in the office until the twin towers fall and then we see the shock that follows.
Yet even during the world-wide panic, the office workers continue through their day almost the exactly the same way as before the event. This seems to be a comment on how normal life can seem to go on, despite a massive global event that will have an effect on the world for decades. The book is also a comment on the general numbness of modern society, and the role technology plays in this. So no matter what happens on the news the characters remain mostly indifferent. Perhaps they have been numbed by constant dramatic reporting on even minor events.
The book is an interesting one- especially due to its layout. Unfortunately its layout can also be annoying in places and dampens some of the impact of the book.