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His first novel, Don DeLillo's Americana passionately articulates the neurotic landscape of contemporary American life through a disintegrating embodiment of the American dream. Prosperous, good-looking and empty inside, 28-year-old advertising executive David Bell appears on the surface to have everything. But he is a man on the brink of losing his sanity. Trapped in a Manhattan office with soulless sycophants as his only company, he makes an abrupt decision to leave New York for America's mid-west. His plan: to film the small-town lives of ordinary people and make contact with the true heart of his homeland. But as Bell puts his films together in his hotel room, he grows increasingly convinced that there is no heart to find. Modern America has become a land that has reached the end of its reel. . . Don DeLillo (b. 1936) was born and raised in New York City. Americana (1971), his first novel, announced the arrival of a major literary talent, and the novels that followed confirmed his reputation as one of the most distinctive and compelling voices in late-twentieth-century American fiction. DeLillo's comic gifts come to the fore in White Noise (1985), which won the National Book Award, Underworld (1997), hailed by Martin Amis as 'the ascension of a great writer', Cosmopolis (2003), adapted into a film by David Cronenberg, due to be released later this year, and Falling Man (2007), a novel about the aftereffects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York. If you enjoyed Americana, you might like DeLillo's Libra, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'He's a writer who, once you read him, makes you want to read everything he's done'Martin Amis, Sunday Times 'Witty, clever and incisive . . . a marvellously realized plot'Time Out 'Nearly every sentence of Americana rings true . . . DeLillo is a man of frightening perception'Joyce Carol Oates
From one of the greatest writers of our time, his first collection of short stories, written between 1979 and 2011, chronicling--and foretelling--three decades of American life Set in Greece, the Caribbean, Manhattan, a white-collar prison and outer space, these nine stories are a mesmerizing introduction to Don DeLillo's iconic voice, from the rich, startling, jazz-infused rhythms of his early work to the spare, distilled, monastic language of the later stories. In "Creation," a couple at the end of a cruise somewhere in the West Indies can't get off the island--flights canceled, unconfirmed reservations, a dysfunctional economy. In "Human Moments in World War III," two men orbiting the earth, charged with gathering intelligence and reporting to Colorado Command, hear the voices of American radio, from a half century earlier. In the title story, Sisters Edgar and Grace, nuns working the violent streets of the South Bronx, confirm the neighborhood's miracle, the apparition of a dead child, Esmeralda. Nuns, astronauts, athletes, terrorists and travelers, the characters in The Angel Esmeralda propel themselves into the world and define it. DeLillo's sentences are instantly recognizable, as original as the splatter of Jackson Pollock or the luminous rectangles of Mark Rothko. These nine stories describe an extraordinary journey of one great writer whose prescience about world events and ear for American language changed the literary landscape.
A novel filled with psychological suspense, it revolves around the death of Rey Robles, a famous director who commits suicide in the apartment of his first wife and the shattering effect of his death on Lauren, his second wife. It shows Lauren's emotional and physical bonding with a simple, mentally deranged man who somehow happens to have been living in her house all along without her knowledge and how she is shattered again for the second time after he leaves her too. In the end, she is forced to accept the fact that she has to carry on living even if it means living alone.
It is an April day in the year 2000 and an era is about to end. The booming times of market optimism--when the culture boiled with money and corporations seemed more vital and influential than governments-- are poised to crash. Eric Packer, a billionaire asset manager at age twenty-eight, emerges from his penthouse triplex and settles into his lavishly customized white stretch limousine. Today he is a man with two missions: to pursue a cataclysmic bet against the yen and to get a haircut across town. Stalled in traffic by a presidential motorcade, a music idol's funeral and a violent political demonstration, Eric receives a string of visitors--experts on security, technology, currency, finance and a few sexual partners--as the limo sputters toward an increasingly uncertain future. Cosmopolis, Don DeLillo's thirteenth novel, is both intimate and global, a vivid and moving account of the spectacular downfall of one man, and of an era.
'Nobody, it seems, could write better than this. No one could have a clearer vision of the micro-circuitry of post-modern life' Evening Standard Ostensibly, DeLillo's blackly comic second novel is about Gary Harkness, a football player and student at Logos College, west Texas. During a season of unprecedented success, Gary becomes increasingly fixated on the threat of nuclear war. Both frightened and fascinated by the prospect, he listens to his team-mates discussing match tactics in much the same terms as generals might contemplate global conflict. But as the terminologies of football and nuclear war - the language of end zones - become interchanged, the polysemous nature of words emerges, and DeLillo forces us to see beyond the sterile reality of substitution. This clever and playful novel is a timeless and topical study of human beings' obsession with conflict and confrontation. 'Powerfully funny, oblique, testy, and playful, tearing along in dazzling cinematic spurts . . . A masterful novel' Washington Post
There is September 11 and then there are the days after, and finally the years. Falling Man is a magnificent, essential novel about the event that defines turn-of-the-century America. It begins in the smoke and ash of the burning towers and tracks the aftermath of this global tremor in the intimate lives of a few people. First there is Keith, walking out of the rubble into a life that he'd always imagined belonged to everyone but him. Then Lianne, his estranged wife, memory-haunted, trying to reconcile two versions of the same shadowy man. And their small son Justin, standing at the window, scanning the sky for more planes. These are lives choreographed by loss, grief, and the enormous force of history. Brave and brilliant, Falling Man traces the way the events of September 11 have reconfigured our emotional landscape, our memory and our perception of the world. It is cathartic, beautiful, heartbreaking.
'Brilliant, deeply shocking' New York Review of Books Bucky Wunderlick is a rock and roll star. Dissatisfied with a life that has brought fame and fortune, he suddenly decides he no longer wants to be a commodity. He leaves his band mid-tour and holes up in a dingy, unfurnished apartment in Great Jones Street. Unfortunately, his disappearing act only succeeds in inflaming interest . . . DeLillo's third novel is more than a musical satire: it probes the rights of the individual, foreshadows the struggle of the artist within a capitalist world and delivers a scathing portrait of our culture's obsession with the lives of the few. 'DeLillo has the force and imagination of Thomas Pynchon or John Barth, with a sense of proportion and style which these would-be giants often lack' Irish Times
In this powerful, eerily convincing fictional speculation on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Don DeLillo chronicles Lee Harvey Oswald's odyssey from troubled teenager to a man of precarious stability who imagines himself an agent of history. When "history" presents itself in the form of two disgruntled CIA operatives who decide that an unsuccessful attempt on the life of the president will galvanize the nation against communism, the scales are irrevocably tipped. A gripping, masterful blend of fact and fiction, alive with meticulously portrayed characters both real and created, Libra is a grave, haunting, and brilliant examination of an event that has become an indelible part of the American psyche.
An unparalleled work of historical conjecture, ranging imaginatively over huge tracts of the American popular consciousness, Don DeLillo's Libra contains an introduction by the author in Penguin Modern Classics. In this powerful, eerily convincing fictional speculation on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Don DeLillo chronicles Lee Harvey Oswald's odyssey from troubled teenager to a man of precarious stability who imagines himself an agent of history. When "history" presents itself in the form of two disgruntled CIA operatives who decide that an unsuccessful attempt on the life of JFK will galvanize the nation against Communism, the scales are irrevocably tipped. Don DeLillo (b. 1936) was born and raised in New York City. Americana (1971), his first novel, announced the arrival of a major literary talent, and the novels that followed confirmed his reputation as one of the most distinctive and compelling voices in late-twentieth-century American fiction. DeLillo's comic gifts come to the fore in White Noise (1985), which won the National Book Award, Underworld (1997), hailed by Martin Amis as 'the ascension of a great writer', Cosmopolis (2003), adapted into a film by David Cronenberg, due to be released later this year, and Falling Man (2007), a novel about the aftereffects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York. If you enjoyed Libra, you might like DeLillo's Americana, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Don DeLillo's apocalyptic imagination takes on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. . . Breathtaking' Newsday
Love-Lies-Bleeding, Don DeLillo's third play, is a daring, profoundly compassionate story about life, death, art and human connection. Three people gather to determine the fate of the man who sits in a straight-backed chair saying nothing. He is Alex Macklin, who gave up easel painting to do land art in the southwestern desert, and he is seventy now, helpless in the wake of a second stroke. The people around him are the bearers of a complicated love, his son, his young wife, the older woman -- his wife of years past -- who feels the emotional tenacity of a love long-ended. It is their question to answer. When does life end, and when should it end? In this remote setting, without seeking medical or legal guidance, they move unsteadily toward last things. Luminous, spare, unnervingly comic and always deeply moving, Love-Lies-Bleeding explores a number of perilous questions about the value of life and how we measure it.
Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1992, this novel tells of a reclusive author who sets out to help a man being held hostage in a basement in Beirut.
"One of the most intelligent, grimly funny voices to comment on life in present-day America" (The New York Times), Don DeLillo presents an extraordinary new novel about words and images, novelists and terrorists, the mass mind and the arch-individualist. At the heart of the book is Bill Gray, a famous reclusive writer who escapes the failed novel he has been working on for many years and enters the world of political violence, a nightscape of Semtex explosives and hostages locked in basement rooms. Bill's dangerous passage leaves two people stranded: his brilliant, fixated assistant, Scott, and the strange young woman who is Scott's lover--and Bill's. .
Set against the backdrop of a lush and exotic Greece, The Names is considered the book which began to drive "sharply upward the size of his readership" (Los Angeles Times Book Review). Among the cast of DeLillo's bizarre yet fully realized characters in The Names are Kathryn, the narrator's estranged wife; their son, the six-year-old novelist; Owen, the scientist; and the neurotic narrator obsessed with his own neuroses. A thriller, a mystery, and still a moving examination of family, loss, and the amorphous and magical potential of language itself, The Names stands with any of DeLillo's more recent and highly acclaimed works. "The Names not only accurately reflects a portion of our contemporary world but, more importantly, creates an original world of its own."--Chicago Sun-Times"DeLillo sifts experience through simultaneous grids of science and poetry, analysis and clear sight, to make a high-wire prose that is voluptuously stark."--Village Voice Literary Supplement"DeLillo verbally examines every state of consciousness from eroticism to tourism, from the idea of America as conceived by the rest of the world to the idea of the rest of the world as conceived by America, from mysticism to fanaticism."--New York Times
"There's a long drive. It's gonna be. I believe. The Giants win the pennant. The Giants win the pennant. The Giants win the pennant. The Giants win the pennant." -- Russ Hodges, October 3, 1951 On the fiftieth anniversary of "The Shot Heard Round the World," Don DeLillo reassembles in fiction the larger-than-life characters who on October 3, 1951, witnessed Bobby Thomson's pennant-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Jackie Gleason is razzing Toots Shor in Leo Durocher's box seats; J. Edgar Hoover, basking in Sinatra's celebrity, is about to be told that the Russians have tested an atomic bomb; and Russ Hodges, raw-throated and excitable, announces the game -- the Giants and the Dodgers at the Polo Grounds in New York. DeLillo's transcendent account of one of the iconic events of the twentieth century is a masterpiece of American sportswriting.
In Players DeLillo explores the dark side of contemporary affluence and its discontents. Pammy and Lyle Wynant are an attractive, modern couple who seem to have it all. Yet behind their "ideal" life is a lingering boredom and quiet desperation: their talk is mostly chatter, their sex life more a matter of obligatory "satisfaction" than pleasure. Then Lyle sees a man killed on the floor of the Stock Exchange and becomes involved with the terrorists responsible; Pammy leaves for Maine with a homosexual couple.... And still they remain untouched, "players" indifferent to the violence that surrounds them, and that they have helped to create. Originally published in 1977 (before his National Book Award-winning White Noise and the recent blockbuster Underworld), Players is a fast-moving yet starkly drawn socially critical drama that demonstrates the razor-sharp prose and thematic density for which DeLillo is renown today."The wit, elegance and economy of Don DeLillo's art are equal to the bitter clarity of his perceptions."--New York Times Book Review
Don DeLillo has been "Weirdly prophetic about twenty-first-century America" (The New York Times Book Review). In his earlier novels, he has written about conspiracy theory, the Cold War and global terrorism. Now, in Point Omega, he looks into the mind and heart of a "defense intellectual," one of the men involved in the management of the country's war machine. Richard Elster was a scholar -- an outsider -- when he was called to a meeting with government war planners, asked to apply "ideas and principles to such matters as troop deployment and counterinsurgency. " We see Elster at the end of his service. He has retreated to the desert, "somewhere south of nowhere," in search of space and geologic time. There he is joined by a filmmaker, Jim Finley, intent on documenting his experience. Finley wants to persuade Elster to make a one-take film, Elster its single character -- "Just a man and a wall. " Weeks later, Elster's daughter Jessica visits -- an "otherworldly" woman from New York, who dramatically alters the dynamic of the story. The three of them talk, train their binoculars on the landscape and build an odd, tender intimacy, something like a family. Then a devastating event throws everything into question. In this compact and powerful novel, it is finally a lingering human mystery that haunts the landscape of desert and mind.
One of DeLillo's first novels, Ratner's Star follows Billy, the genius adolescent, who is recruited to live in obscurity, underground, as he tries to help a panel of estranged, demented, and yet lovable scientists communicate with beings from outer space. It is a mix of quirky humor, science, mathematical theories, as well as the complex emotional distance and sadness people feel. Ratner's Star demonstrates both the thematic and prosaic muscularity that typifies DeLillo's later and more recent works, like The Names (which is also available in Vintage Contemporaries).
DeLillo's Running Dog, originally published in 1978, follows Moll Robbins, a New York city journalist trailing the activities of an influential senator. In the process she is dragged into the black market world of erotica and shady, infatuated men, where a cat-and-mouse chase for an erotic film rumored to "star" Adolph Hitler leads to trickery, maneuvering, and bloodshed. With streamlined prose and a thriller's narrative pace, Running Dog is a bright star in the modern master's early career.
"DeLillo's most affecting novel yet...A dazzling, phosphorescent work of art."--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times "The clearest vision yet of what it felt like to live through that day." --Malcolm Jones, Newsweek "A metaphysical ghost story about a woman alone...intimate, spare, exquisite." --Adam Begley, The New York Times Book Review "A brilliant new novel....Don DeLillo continues to think about the modern world in language and images as quizzically beautiful as any writer." -- San Francisco Chronicle
A finalist for the National Book Award, Don DeLillo's most powerful and riveting novel--"a great American novel, a masterpiece, a thrilling page-turner" (San Francisco Chronicle)--Underworld is about the second half of the twentieth century in America and about two people, an artist and an executive, whose lives intertwine in New York in the fifties and again in the nineties. With cameo appearances by Lenny Bruce, J. Edgar Hoover, Bobby Thompson, Frank Sinatra, Jackie Gleason and Toots Shor, "this is DeLillo's most affecting novel...a dazzling, phosphorescent work of art" (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times).
From a National Book Award-winning author comes this postmodern masterpiece. After a deadly toxic accident and his wife's addiction to an experimental drug, a man is forced to question everything about his life.
'An extraordinarily funny book on a serious subject, effortlessly combining social comedy, disaster, fiction and philosophy . . . hilariously, and grimly, successful' Daily Telegraph Jack Gladney is the creator and chairman of Hitler studies at the College-on-the-Hill. This is the story of his absurd life; a life that is going well enough, until a chemical spill from a rail car releases an 'Airborne Toxic Event' and Jack is forced to confront his biggest fear - his own mortality. White Noise is an effortless combination of social satire and metaphysical dilemma in which DeLillo exposes our rampant consumerism, media saturation and novelty intellectualism. It captures the particular strangeness of life lived when the fear of death cannot be denied, repressed or obscured and ponders the role of the family in a time when the very meaning of our existence is under threat. 'An astonishing novel . . . unforgettable . . . nearly every page crackles with memorable moments and perfectly turned phrases . . . dizzying, darkly beautiful fiction' Sunday Times
Winner of the National Book Award in 1985, White Noise is the story of Jack and Babette and their children from their six or so various marriages. They live in a college town where Jack is Professor of Hitler Studies (and conceals the fact that he does not speak a word of German), and Babette teaches posture and volunteers by reading from the tabloids to a group of elderly shut-ins. They are happy enough until a deadly toxic accident and Babette's addiction to an experimental drug make Jake question everything. White Noise is considered a postmodern classic and its unfolding of themes of consumerism, family and divorce, and technology as a deadly threat have attracted the attention of literary scholars since its publication. This Viking Critical Library edition, prepared by scholar Mark Osteen, is the only edition of White Noise that contains the entire text along with an extensive critical apparatus, including a critical introduction, selected essays on the author, the work and its themes, reviews, a chronology of DeLillo's life and work, a list of discussion topics, and a selected bibliography.
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