Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Don DeLillo - Cosmopolis
A more mature, more modern Don DeLillo work, firmly entrenched in postmodernism. Though a far slender work than his usual plodders, in a sense, it is also, thematically, more varied; it does not fit the mould of his traditional conspiracy theorising that is prevalent in Underworld and Libra; somehow, it strikes you as his attempt to write a coming-of-age tale as an author, one that will be his Norwegian Wood, giving DeLillo a more public audience.
It is the tale of Eric Packer, a 28-year-old multi-billionare asset manager who drives across Manhattan for a haircut. Like James Joyce's Ulysses, it takes place in a single day; the theme of father-son separation is also addressed, as is highly sexed women. Throughout, he has random chance encounters with his wife; he loses huge amounts of money by betting against the yen, which suffers a demise parallelling hiw own downfall.
The book is fast-paced, quirky, flitting from event to event; in that sense, it is less reminiscent of a traditional DeLillo work, where tight plots are eschewed in favour of a more detailed exposition of ambient conditions. The book toys with language in various exciting ways; many a time, words and playful imagery tumble over each other rapidly in an effort to outshine each other.
A brilliant DeLillo work, and easily, his easiest, for the novice.
It gets a 9/10; yes I have been reading a host of good books lately, I must admit.
at 10:19 PM