9 November 2011

The Angel Esmeralda: Nine Stories, by Don DeLillo (Picador)

Don DeLillo makes some people’s brains ache. They hurry to consign his novels — from Americana and Ratner’s Star to the great Underworld — to curiously inappropriate categories, whether readymade (“postmodernism”) or jerry-rigged for the purpose (“hysterical realism”). Minds skid on the glacial beauty of his fictive thought. Perhaps a slower pace, encouraged by the short-story form, will facilitate a better grip. Continued →

14 May 2007

Falling Man, by Don DeLillo

You could say there have been foreshadowings. From Don DeLillo’s Underworld (1997), the great American novel of the second half of the 20th century: “My son used to believe that he could look at a plane in flight and make it explode in midair by simply thinking it . . . he’d sense an element of catastrophe tacit in the very fact of a flying object filled with people.” Elsewhere in that novel, in 1974, two characters watch the World Trade Center being constructed: “Very terrible thing but you have to look at it, I think.” DeLillo’s fifth novel, Players (1977), features a woman who works in a grief management firm high up in the newly finished World Trade Center: “the towers didn’t seem permanent”, she thinks, but then, “Where else would you stack all that grief?” The same novel also depicts a cabal of terrorists who want to blow up the Stock Exchange. Continued →