The morning when normal ended: A personal account of September 11
Author of the 2012 bestseller ‘The Expats’, Chris Pavone’s latest thriller ‘The Paris Diversion’ takes place in the French capital as it faces multiple terror attacks. Eighteen years on, the New Yorker recalls the horror of 9/11 and its aftermath, and how it has informed his writing…
On 10 September 2001, I went to bed with a stuffy head, and took a decongestant. So on the 11th I awoke late, groggy. My wife had already left for work. Our dog kept me company while I shaved and showered, dressed and caffeinated. I was aiming to leave for the office by a quarter to nine.
I was one minute late.
So it was 8.46am when I bent to say goodbye to Charlie Brown, and off to the side some fast movement caught my eye, with a whirr-whoosh that sounded like a cartoon version of an incoming missile, some disaster about to befall Wile E Coyote. I spun my head to the window where the noise had shot by, but I saw nothing. I stood up. I turned to the south. That’s when I saw.