In the months after 9/11 David and Mel meet to drink, give each other comfort and reminisce about Paul—Mel’s husband and David’s best friend. The memories are not all good for David. Before Paul died in the north tower, the two friends fought, brutally questioning each other’s lives. Fueled by anger and grief and too much alcohol, David stumbles through the city while holding onto a silent promise made to a dead friend: he will wait for Mel to fall so he can catch her.
Beautifully raw and honest, Adam Berlin’s novel follows two characters through the long darkness in New York after 9/11. This is about the running, the drinking, the standing still, and the unquantifiable missing. Berlin’s book is shattering, real, first-person history, made intimate by a narrator forced to stare at himself against the hole of Ground Zero.
— James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces
The Number of Missing is a masterful re-invention of the post-war novel for the 21st Century. The World Trade Center is the battlefield: one young man dies a horrific death while his best friend witnesses the attack from a park bench a safe distance away. Ghosts haunt the guilty conscience, and to be alive is not necessarily to be among the living. The prose is lean and the air is thick. Adam Berlin might well be the Norman Mailer of his generation.
— Binnie Kirshenbaum, author of The Scenic Route
— Robin Martin, Gently Read Literature
— Publisher’s Weekly
— New York Daily News
— Emily St. John Mandel, The Millions