Acts of Memory: Narratives of Trauma and 9/11 Politics in Michael Connelly’s City of Bones (2002)

Journal article


Davies, C. 2015. Acts of Memory: Narratives of Trauma and 9/11 Politics in Michael Connelly’s City of Bones (2002). The Human - Journal of Literature and Culture. (5), pp. 33-51.
AuthorsDavies, C.
Abstract

Michael Connelly's 2002 crime novel, City of Bones, follows an investigation by LAPD Detective Harry Bosch into the unsolved murder of a 12 year old boy, registered missing in 1980. Bosch's investigation to uncover the circumstances that led to the boy's murder, and therein uncover the hidden identity of the killer, is transposed against 'the struggle everyone had to find meaning after such a catastrophic event, literally witnessed first-hand through television'1. An early entrant in what quickly blossomed into a rich tapestry of cultural material critically (and not so critically) engaged with the politics of 9/11 and the unfolding war on terror, City of Bones questions the extent to which an absolute truth can be arrived it in the narrativisation of a trauma by its immediate experiencers. Moreover, in a narrative of crime where the political imperatives of the LAPD consistently assert control over trauma's narrativising -- a consequence of which is an unfolding sequence of further traumatic deaths -- City of Bones explores how the imperatives of a political hegemon may militate against trauma's abatement by hijacking post-trauma narrativisation to create a record of trauma that confers legitimacy upon the recurrence of violence as the response to trauma. Read within the post 9/11 context into which the novel emerged, my paper contends that City of Bones offers an allegorical microcosm of the Bush administration's efforts to manage the narrativising of 9/11 into a position directly relational to the 9/11 attacks; a position from which revanchist counter-violence emerged as a legitimate response to the trauma of 9/11.

Keywords9/11; Post 9/11; terror war; trauma
Year2015
JournalThe Human - Journal of Literature and Culture
Journal citation(5), pp. 33-51
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
OnlineJun 2015
Publication process dates
Accepted2015
Deposited13 Jun 2022
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