At the beginning of the chapter, Keith, the central figure in the novel, is with Florence Givens, who also escaped the World Trade Center after the first plane struck. The affair he has with Florence is a remarkable indiscretion, considering that he has happily resumed his relationship with his wife Lianne in the wake of the attack. The affair signals the indelible mark that the tragedy has made upon Keith. He is doomed to be the Falling Man, tumbling endlessly downward.
Elena, who lives a few floors under Keith and Lianne, has been loudly playing music that Lianne associates with the Middle Eastern origin of the attackers. Lianne, more and more enraged by the music, had aggressively confronted Elena earlier in the novel. In chapter 8, she encounters her in the building's laundry room, and another tense situation between the two ensues.
In the course of the chapter, Lianne also becomes so annoyed with Carol Shoup for not giving her an editorial assignment that she ends their friendship. At the end of the chapter, she begs her son's playmate to stop scanning the skies for the return of the attacking planes, dismaying the child and her son. Lianne's anger is a sign that she too has been devastated by the fall of the towers.