September 11. The event has entered collective memory as that single date that we hope will not become the beginning of a larger story (the way Pearl Harbor augured World War II in the American imagination). The simple date September 11 must be unraveled to reveal and spell out the many stories it contains—not all compatible, not all easy to absorb, not all welcomed by everyone, but neither morose nor sentimental. September 11 calls upon us to put into words the feeling of being at a loss, of not having an adequate expression for what happened. It also compels “us” to recognize how tenuous and dangerous the notion of a clearly deﬁned “us” has always been.
After 9/11, Ulrich Baer set out to record how the city’s writers struggled to process the unimaginable event. His collection, 110 Stories: New York Writes after September 11, includes accounts from Paul Auster, Darren Aronofsky, Susan Wheeler, and 107 more writers—all of whose stories reveal the internal and external damage the attacks brought.