A Testimonial for The Woman Who Wasn’t There
This entry is a departure from my usual market enthusiasm, but it’s a very important subject to me and probably to many others who experienced the events of September 11, 2001 in one way or another. I know that at least one important market, the Pompeii Artisan and Flea Market on Bleecker Street, began as a direct response to the attacks, as a way to give back to the city. So maybe it isn’t so much of a departure after all. (Cross Posted to SireneMediaWorks.com
I am pleased to sing the praises of The Woman Who Wasn’t There (Touchstone 2012), a new non-fiction book by Robin Gaby Fisher and Angelo Guglielmo, as well as a documentary film directed by Angelo (Meredith Vieira Productions).
It is the story of Tania Head, a woman who survived the attacks on 9/11 in the South Tower while her husband lost his life in the North Tower. Tania became a leader of the 9/11 Survivors Network. She was was good friends with Angelo and a friend and inspiration to many others. I met her several times through the network, although I did not know her personally.
In the interest of full disclosure, I knew about this story and many of the people involved, and Angelo is a dear friend of mine. So I am writing a testimonial rather than a review. The bottom line is this: The Woman Who Wasn’t There is a remarkable story masterfully told.
I am not spoiling the story when I say that Tania Head was a complete fraud, as revealed in the New York Times in September 2007. In fact, she wasn’t even in the country on 9/11. The Woman Who Wasn’t There is not a mystery, but a retelling of a how one person created a web of lies to deceive a community of vulnerable and traumatized people, and yet in many ways also helped them to recover and reconcile their experiences on that day. Clearly, there are some complex psychological situations here, which the co-authors handle beautifully.
The story itself is riveting. I read the book cover to cover in one sitting. It is not a sensationalist presentation of a pathological liar, but rather a careful retelling of an incredibly emotional, complex and delicate story in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center. The film presents actual footage of Tania looking us in the eye and telling her “story.”
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