Saturday, October 20, 2007

Quick Take on Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis

I spent the day on a family trip -- up to Albany to see my cousin's new baby, on her first trip out of Texas -- so I won't have anything both interesting and original today. However, out of guilt (and out of my dwindling store of old posts), here are some thoughts on a then-new Don DeLillo novel, originally posted to rec.arts.sf.written 9/5/03:

Cosmopolis is, I'd say, an interesting failure. I think it actually is a formal allegory (though I didn't precisely work out what everything stands for); at the very least, it's a heavily, heavily symbolic story. I thought the story itself crumpled a bit from the weight of all the symbolism, but I found it fun to track the journey in the book (it's all set on one Manhattan street, which is right next to where I used to work). And DeLillo's prose is strong, as usual. (Aside: I read an interview with him recently in which he claimed to have something like eighty-five pages full of just opening lines for Cosmopolis, as he worked out just the right tone.)

I read Ratner's Star quite some time ago, so it might be less accessible than I remember. It is pretty "science-y," as I recall, which might attract SF readers. But I still think White Noise is his masterpiece -- and, coincidentally, that's the closest he's come to our skiffy shores.

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