Jess Walter's The Zero takes its title from the absence of the twin towers and the holes they left in the American psyche, or maybe not. It is a valid question to ask if the towers left any hole at all. The structure of Walter's novel contains as many holes, gaps, and questions as can be imagined. However, those gaps are quickly filled by a society wanting to quickly fill the gap with meanings and perceptions that make sense, avoiding the void that might lead deeper into the subject. This comes through when Remy, the central figure of the text, remains in a state between consciousness and unconsciousness, unsure whether he is dreaming or thinking:
"A dream - that would help explain the gaps, and the general incongruity of life now - the cyclic repetition of events on cable news, waves of natural disasters, scientists announcing the same discoveries over and over (Planet X, dinosaur birds, cloning, certain genetic codes), the random daily shift of national allegiances, wildly famous people who no one could recall becoming famous, the sudden emergence and disappearance of epidemics, the declaration and dissolution of governments, cycles of scandal, confession, and rehabilitation, heated elections in which losers claimed victory and races were rerun in the same sequence, events that catapulted wildly out of control, like plagues of illogic ..."
Are these what exist in the state between consciousness and unconsciousness, possibly where we all exist today? The text depicts a culture that is not enlightened to the point that it can accept the void and discover the meanings from within it. Rather, society tends to overlay pop culture and populous understanding atop the void.
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