Don DeLillo...a disappointment?

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I'd heard lots about how good Don DeLillo is supposed to be, so I finally gave in and bought and read White Noise. Now it may of course be me, but I couldn't (admittedly on the strngth of one book) see what all the fuss was about. I had no sympathy with any of the characters (which may not matter), but I also didn't care what happened to them (good or bad), and it took me about three weeks to finish it, 'cos I had little interest in it (whereas I managed Q in about three days, but admittedly that was on holiday and none of my family were talkign to me when I'd finished).

Is it just me? did I pick a "bad" example of his work? or have other shad similar problems.

andyjack (andyjack), Thursday, 17 March 2005 16:17 (sixteen years ago) link

Well, I loved Underworld but hated White Noise - make of that what you will.

Flyboy (Flyboy), Thursday, 17 March 2005 16:25 (sixteen years ago) link

WOW i did this too except i liked it, mostly because he's a jawdroppingly good stylist. i remember a quote by john updike on vonnegut: reading a v novel is like eating an icecream cone. that's kidna how i felt about white noise. also the stuff on supermarkets was good. i bought a bunch of his other books after, which i'm looking forward to reading eventually. cheifly, libra, which looks like it should be un-be-lievable. oh and of course pafko at the wall (aka underworld prologue) which i'll read shortly before opening day.

i too have problems with the whole you know pomo anti-humanism, but his heart's in the right the place you know.

baseballizer, Thursday, 17 March 2005 16:27 (sixteen years ago) link

I think there was another thread about him recently-ish.

PJ Miller (PJ Miller), Thursday, 17 March 2005 17:41 (sixteen years ago) link

White Noise is definitely a love-it-or-hate-it kinda thing. There are some funny bits--"Did they wear hacking jackets? What's a hacking jacket?" But overall its tone is pretty chilly. And no, the characters aren't ones you want to hug.

My favorite DeLillo is actually The Names, which almost no one else likes.

The Mad Puffin (The Mad Puffin), Thursday, 17 March 2005 17:59 (sixteen years ago) link

to anyone who watches neighbours (i only catch the odd episode): did anyone see that ep where a character finds a bk in harold's coffee shop and its 'white noise' and the girl goes on abt how the bk was left there on purpose as some sort of 'recommendation'?!

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Thursday, 17 March 2005 18:35 (sixteen years ago) link


Carl Solomon, Thursday, 17 March 2005 18:53 (sixteen years ago) link

i concur with the title of this thread

all his books have like 50 pages of good writing in between smug, tedious shit.

fcussen (Burger), Friday, 18 March 2005 00:35 (sixteen years ago) link

I read White Noise and Mao II and haven't been tempted to read any more since, though I've read a couple of his stories that cropped up in the New Yorker. His prose style seems very flat to me - perhaps that's part of the appeal - but I haven't acquired the taste for it.

o. nate (onate), Friday, 18 March 2005 00:44 (sixteen years ago) link

I liked White Noise. I wanted to burn Underworld though.

Kevan (Kevan), Friday, 18 March 2005 08:09 (sixteen years ago) link

i don't know what you mean by flat - i think his writing carries a sort of effortless easy grace and power, something i wouldn't try and couldn't hope to emulate.

carol dean ford, Friday, 18 March 2005 14:44 (sixteen years ago) link

Large parts of Underworld amazed me with their perfection. But it's a big book and I'm not certain it all hangs together.

I continue to recommend The Names; it's diverting and cool and full of ideas.

The Mad Puffin (The Mad Puffin), Friday, 18 March 2005 15:18 (sixteen years ago) link

i don't know what you mean by flat

Understated, affectless, drab, stilted, guarded, clunky, grey, colorless, boring.

o. nate (onate), Friday, 18 March 2005 16:42 (sixteen years ago) link

I never liked his style much either.

Ken L (Ken L), Friday, 18 March 2005 16:47 (sixteen years ago) link

ok then . i don't think all of those are necessarily negative qualities, and most of them tie into (and imo enhance) his work as whole. he's certainly not a lively writer (and i read white noise shortly after GR so don't think wasn't wholly and immediately apparent), so if you don't go for that kind of thing, i can see why you'd have trouble w/ him.

i don't know, i think he's bleak, but not 'cold' or unemotional, as some would have it.

the punch, Friday, 18 March 2005 16:51 (sixteen years ago) link

I don't like Pynchon either. It'd be interesting to hear from somebody who likes one but not the other, if such a person exists.

Ken L (Ken L), Friday, 18 March 2005 17:11 (sixteen years ago) link

I like Pynchon a lot but don't like De Lillo much. I read White Noise, maybe that's the wrong one to start with, but it seemed like a failed combination of a Stephen King story slowed down and a Raymond Carver story with added pulp. The first Pynchon book I read, The Crying of Lot 49, blew me away. It had me from page one, and I've read now it now three times, and look forward to doing so again. His tone is like an old smart friend stoned and drunk. Gravity's Rainbow was the next one I read, and then the old friend seemed like he was on acid. No one alive writes better sentences either as far as I'm aware. "Now ghosts crowded beneath the eaves. Stretched among snowy soot chimneys, booming over air-shafts, too tenuous themselves for sound, dry now forever in this wet gusting, stretched and never breaking, whipped in glassy French-curved chase across the rooftops, along the silver downs, skimming where the sea combs feezing into shore." And that's how all 700 or whatever pages are, mixed with vaudeville bits, pratfalls, comic book interludes, pornographic and scatalogical limericks, and pie fights out of Rabelais, all in the service of an anti-bomb story (and more!) every bit as funny as Dr. Strangelove. His short stories are good too. One's about a guy who goes to live with an elf beneath a garbage dump, and another's the greatest anti-racist short story I've read by someone white. Never got through V or Vineland or Mason & Dixon though. I wanted them to be like Gravity's Rainbow which they just weren't to me.

Carl Solomon, Friday, 18 March 2005 17:28 (sixteen years ago) link

Jeez, o.nate, you're a tough cookie to please; or should that be, to swallow?

the bellefox, Friday, 18 March 2005 17:58 (sixteen years ago) link

It's strange (but OK) how the DD discussion has led back to TP. I will spare the world a recap of my views thereon.

TP is a great stylist, I suppose, flawed by his excess of hippy wank imagination. DD is a good stylist too: I guess I agree with the baseballizer.

White Noise I find beautifully lyrical as well as effectively satirical; Libra is a monument on quiet fire. The Body Artist maybe melts too much into mere vapour. I'm disappointed to realize that I've read no further. Conversations With Don DeLillo is good, though.

the bluefox, Friday, 18 March 2005 18:02 (sixteen years ago) link

i really really liked the names and americana and endzone and white noise when i read them in the 80's. i should try reading them again and see if i still like them. the only one i didn't like back then was great jones street. i haven't kept up though. i liked mao 2. but i didn't want to read libra and the excerpt of underworld that i read before it came out (pafko at the wall) turned me off of that book before it even hit the stores. i know i'm repeating myself though and that i've said these same things on here before. i never read ratner's star. i still wanna read that one.

scott seward (scott seward), Friday, 18 March 2005 22:37 (sixteen years ago) link

that one is half a very good book and half a bafflingly awful one, scott.

jed_ (jed), Friday, 18 March 2005 23:36 (sixteen years ago) link

i don't think i've ever genuinely liked a delillo character, but that's obv. not why i read his books. the prose makes me so damn happy everytime. White Noise and mao II are decent, but my favourites are The Names and Underworld. i mean to read Libra next, as soon as i finish my current BC North Coast Lit binge.

derrick (derrick), Sunday, 20 March 2005 07:58 (sixteen years ago) link

Jeez, o.nate, you're a tough cookie to please; or should that be, to swallow?

Sorry, I somewhat belatedly realized that my commments above probably come across as more negative about DeLillo's prose than I actually feel. I was just trying to flesh out the connotation of "flat" that I had in mind. By listing all those negative words, I think I greatly exaggerated my distaste for DeLillo's writing. I still think he's a good writer - I'm just trying to imagine how he could be better - to me at least.

o. nate (onate), Sunday, 20 March 2005 08:24 (sixteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...
I've read not as much DeLillo as I mean to, and I (think) I mean to read pretty much all of him. But I don't think I enjoy his books; it moreso feels as though he's just one of those (few) contemporary writers who you've gotta keep an eye on whatever he's doing. I agree with those who say that they were underwhelmed by Underworld. I think the thing that makes DeLillo's work good is also what makes it bad: sometimes the play between the sincere with the formulaic can get tired and you realise that what you're reading are kind of labels or something for some moral weakness he feels needs pointing out, but which he feels both affection as well as humour for. Or something. Plus there's the aesthetic of his books, which I do like, in which the trivial and the monumental shift places, with everything overlaid wiht this trance-hypnotic vacuous/substantial tone.

I don't think of him who writes about characters that stuff happens to, ie., in terms of using that kind of a structural layout. For me, his books are important for the sense in which they hold together like paintings, or something, in that the characters exist alongside descriptions of the environment, and the dialogue, ie., all of these things have a kind of equivalent status in his books. And all of these equal things' existence, and the structured whole, stand in some special relationship to D's sensibility.

David Joyner (David Joyner), Sunday, 3 April 2005 22:52 (sixteen years ago) link

I could never dislike the book that gave us "The Most Photographed Barn in the World."

Hurting (Hurting), Monday, 4 April 2005 00:13 (sixteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...
i have been looking forward to feeling free enough to start to reread underworld, as i read it about six years ago but feel like a much better reader now. i certainly didn't count it as a disappointment then. though i wonder what got me to start it other than the comparisons to pynchon, since i had read white noise no more than four months earlier and found it mostly unmoving and uninteresting. it could have been just reading the 'pafko' opener on a lark; i couldn't remember having felt excited about baseball since i was, like, ten, if that was even excitement then. anyway: it was plenty more rewarding than the opening section, too.

i also ended up engrossed in the body artist despite the probably purposefully elicited misgivings i had at the beginning (this is so slight, etc.). so far i've decided to suppose that white noise is the odd one out.

Josh (Josh), Sunday, 24 April 2005 08:01 (fifteen years ago) link

four months pass...
i am not prepared to speak to its accuracy but i very much like what david said above.

it occurs to me now, having recently been reading two books ('berlin alexanderplatz' and natsuo kirino's 'out') that one might describe as in some way 'social novels', or, better, as having elements of the social novel to them - despite my not really having any actual acquaintance with the books properly called 'social novels' like, i don't know, 'germinal' or 'an american tragedy' or 'cannery row' or whatever they really are - that while i am often more bored by this kind of book, 'the social novel', partly because of its narrative or psychological or etc. focus on things that i personally am bored by, partly because of its tendency to a programmatic interest in 'realistic' prose - while i'm often more bored by it, perhaps one could say that one of the interesting things about delillo's novels is that they have a broader scope for what counts as 'social' while still maintaining some of that old interest in 'the social' of 'the social novel'. this is all basically baseless speculation, though. an idea to throw out.

'broader' is a poor way of putting it.

Josh (Josh), Saturday, 27 August 2005 05:52 (fifteen years ago) link

three years pass...

blogging for the onion

schlump, Friday, 3 October 2008 14:41 (twelve years ago) link


t_g, Friday, 3 October 2008 14:48 (twelve years ago) link

surely not real right

t_g, Friday, 3 October 2008 14:49 (twelve years ago) link

why not? i guess the arguments here are that it-sounds-so-much-like-him that it can only be a parody, versus it can only be him. but it's like chunks of the campus establishment writingin white noise. it's certainly him.

schlump, Friday, 3 October 2008 15:40 (twelve years ago) link

well that bit 'he speaks in your voice, american' is the first line of underworld so i would have thought it's a parody

t_g, Friday, 3 October 2008 15:42 (twelve years ago) link

That's great. It's a pretty obscure thing to joke about, though

Ismael Klata, Friday, 3 October 2008 21:57 (twelve years ago) link

Libra is pretty great, though it starts slow. Americana also OK. Rest of it I can do without.

hugo, Thursday, 9 October 2008 19:44 (twelve years ago) link

americana's amazing! white noise is a better novel, but americana's just so lyrical, such a distinct voice, so many offhand lines. i remember reading the joshua ferris novel and being amazed at how derivative it was. this is more likely my ignorance, but i can't really trace back the topical writing style of short declarative sentences, of that mild deadpan typified by eggers, july &c, any further than americana. it's like he created the current american narrative voice.

schlump, Thursday, 9 October 2008 20:07 (twelve years ago) link

libra starts slow? ach, i guess, compared to how riveting it becomes

100 tons of hardrofl beyond zings (Just got offed), Thursday, 9 October 2008 20:08 (twelve years ago) link

Read Running Dog, based on being interested in a 2 sentence precis somewhere (something about Hitler and pornography); actually found this to be about his dullest book, which is really a special achievement.

Apart from the The Names, which a few have recommended here (& which I haven't read), has anyone read End Zone?

David Joyner, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 00:40 (twelve years ago) link

yah a long time ago--it was pretty awes

Mr. Que, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 00:45 (twelve years ago) link

I just read a summary of 'End Zone', talking about how the main character is obsessed with what he sees as imminent nuclear armageddon, which has rather swayed me towards reading it (I've liked about 2/3 of the eLillo I've read before, but was previously put off this by it being about football).

James Morrison, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 06:40 (twelve years ago) link

James: let me know how you go. I'm unlikely to go with End Zone next, considering I don't yet own a copy, and so am instead faced with the familiar and let's face it unpleasant task of working out which owned-but-as-yet-unread-book to choose from... Oh, I think I said recently it'd be The Assistant, so had better not make a liar of me...

David Joyner, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 07:33 (twelve years ago) link

i really liked endzone. i'd like to read it again someday. same with americana. i read all those books so long ago, they would seem new to me again.

scott seward, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 09:15 (twelve years ago) link

A voice from the subconscious: Toyota Corola.

This is also a White Noise reference.

jaymc, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 05:40 (twelve years ago) link

yeah it must be a pardoy even tho someone up above said 'it's certainly him'

t_g, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 08:06 (twelve years ago) link

Yeah, I mean, their other bloggers include "Pip Dawkins, 19th Century Street Urchin" and "Gary Brunson, 5-Week-Old Fetus."

jaymc, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 15:27 (twelve years ago) link

it's certainly a 5 week old fetus

t_g, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 15:46 (twelve years ago) link

i was the one CERTAINLY HIMing all over the place. i've still only read the first entry. i think my conviction is more rooted in wondering why people make convincing hoaxes, like really authentic and not particularlt satirical april fools jokes, with author's photo etc.

i am quite keen to deflect attention back on to general don delillo affairs to distract from my potential faux pas.

schlump, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 16:03 (twelve years ago) link

just got the 9/11 book - only one i haven read

i rep for mao 2 and the names fwiw

joseph sixpack (ice crӕm), Wednesday, 15 October 2008 16:08 (twelve years ago) link

I'd been looking for the 9/11 book in secondhand shops. I saw a reviewers' pre-copy, but didn't buy it because I wanted the nice cover with the vertical subway train (I think). I finally found a copy the other day and was very pleased with myself - until Mrs K pointed out that the cover is just a picture of clouds, and not the one I wanted at all :o(

Ismael Klata, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 21:42 (twelve years ago) link

Ones I really, really did dig by him: Mao II, Running Dog, Libra, Ratner's Star (with reservations)

James Morrison, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 22:26 (twelve years ago) link

one year passes...

btw I only said that bcz -- when I last looked at the list of winners -- it seemed that the really great writers of a particular movement or undercurrent or scene seldom win: Beckett not Joyce, Kawabata not Mishima, Simon not Duras, Marquez not Borges. So the winner of er American encyclopedic novel should be Pynchon but it'll be Delillo.

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 12 October 2016 21:40 (four years ago) link

dude beckett >>>>> joyce

i am not looking forward to the pinefox's return to this thread :)

mark s, Wednesday, 12 October 2016 21:42 (four years ago) link

xp. borges is not a boom writer. marquez and vargas llosa both winning the nobel means the boom is one movement where you can say pretty definitively that the best writers from it won the nobel

ælərdaɪs (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 12 October 2016 21:47 (four years ago) link

I know but I think its fair to say that in people's minds Borges is the father of modern Latin American fiction and a precursor of the boom. I know it doesn't stick.

beckett >>>>> joyce

Flann O'Brien ftw

(Would've agreed, have been off Joyce till I started reading parts of the Wake via that twitter account. But again they aren't like one another anyway, just seen as part of the same 'scene')

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 12 October 2016 21:53 (four years ago) link

LOL now looking at that list on wiki and more exampels: Mann not Rilke, Jelinek not Bernhard, Gide not Proust, Seferis not Cavafy, Canetti not Musil, Pasternak not Tsvetaeva, Saramago not Pessoa.

Even if I like quite a few of the writers that have won its such a load of rub!

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 12 October 2016 22:00 (four years ago) link

marquez and vargas llosa both winning the nobel means the boom is one movement where you can say pretty definitively that the best writers from it won the nobel

― ælərdaɪs (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, October 12, 2016 2:47 PM (six minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

except neruda was not a better writer than borges, but you can argue that borges didn't win it for political reasons, sure

i always thought cortazar was a better writer than marquez. llosa wrote maybe one decent book. yet the writer who encompasses all the boom's qualities is the one who did it the worse in my opinion -- marquez

F♯ A♯ (∞), Wednesday, 12 October 2016 22:01 (four years ago) link

neruda and borges is the right generation but very different writers. i expect it was more the great mass popularity of neruda that probably swung the judges.

vargas llosa's first three novels are all great imo, and several of his later works are decent

ælərdaɪs (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 12 October 2016 22:07 (four years ago) link

best way to look at the nobel prize is as a pretty arbitrary thing that isn't that important other than for that year's laureate and their fans

ælərdaɪs (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 12 October 2016 22:10 (four years ago) link

A lot of time the best die young. But Marquez was pretty clearly the right boom winner, if only for Autumn of the Patriarch. I used to love Cortazar, but the latest short story collection I tried and make my way through was severely disappointing. I'd take Juan Rulfo every day of the week instead.

Frederik B, Wednesday, 12 October 2016 22:13 (four years ago) link

best way to look at the nobel prize is as a pretty arbitrary thing that isn't that important other than for that year's laureate and their fans


*starts busily reading all the winners in order*

mark s, Wednesday, 12 October 2016 22:15 (four years ago) link

if you listen to old peruvian dudes tell stories, you'll be reminded of vargas llosa, because he just formalized a type of popular storytelling from peru. his works do get more academic, because i guess he was a fan of russian formalism

i kind of got tired of it because i heard a bunch of old peruvian dudes tell stories in the same fashion

weirdly la catedral is the one i think is his only decent book

F♯ A♯ (∞), Wednesday, 12 October 2016 22:19 (four years ago) link

Neruda not Vallejo!!

I really liked One Hundred Years of Solitude when I read it a few years ago. Wonder how it stands up today. Pedro Paramo is really good.

Actually I don't know if Latin American existentialism has ever won the Nobel

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 12 October 2016 22:22 (four years ago) link

juan rulfo is good stuff too

F♯ A♯ (∞), Wednesday, 12 October 2016 22:26 (four years ago) link

when i was a kid and into socialism, vallejo really spoke to me, as did all his melancholic verses

neruda always sounded cheesy to me, but i've grown to like a few of his poems

F♯ A♯ (∞), Wednesday, 12 October 2016 22:28 (four years ago) link

Yeah I like Neruda but Vallejo is all-time (esp the Spain take this cup away from me cycle) (Ok I suppose Vallejo would've been not that well-known in the 30s but I like to think there is some kind of guilt involved, like lets give Beckett the prize because its safe to do so now Modernism is accepted)

Nobel def go for kinda boring literary careerism if anything: Mann is like the perfect caricature of a Nobel winner. I think Borges didn't win, not bcz of politics (look at Mann's nationalism, Llosa is dodgy isn't he?) but because he wasn't that industrious and way past his best. His repute is based on a dozen short stories and a handful of essays. More than enough given what he wrote but these people are idiots.

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 12 October 2016 22:33 (four years ago) link

it's worth looking through the blurbs they give winners, the phrase "lofty idealism" crops up a LOT :D

kipling and hamsun had *way* dodgier politics than borges or llosa (tho hamsun's turn to the dark side may have been after his prize)

mark s, Wednesday, 12 October 2016 22:38 (four years ago) link

It was after yeah (and it was given for Growth of the Soil which no one gives a shit about)

More dodgy pols: Eliot and LOL Churchill

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 12 October 2016 22:47 (four years ago) link

oh man llosa is super dodgy, flip flopping. he wanted to run for president in the 90s but he's definitely not a politician and if memory serves, he was considered way too intellectual and not practical enough

you're right about borges, but it seems to me neruda's popularity increased because he was riding the socialist wave that was so big in south america. maybe i'm being cynical but he seemed to play his cards right, whereas borges took a huge gamble speaking out against the atrocities peron committed, but this is the machiavellic attitude of latin american politics that so many leftists are comfortable with

F♯ A♯ (∞), Wednesday, 12 October 2016 22:57 (four years ago) link

borges was a small c conservative who backed the dictatorship in argentina in the 70s - for a while, was later bit put off by the body count. neruda was a stalinist.

ælərdaɪs (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 12 October 2016 23:03 (four years ago) link

with all the promises that the peron gov't had made, who wouldn't support it? the difference is when the "body count" was released, borges had the decency to come to his senses

F♯ A♯ (∞), Wednesday, 12 October 2016 23:06 (four years ago) link

borges never supported peron, but he was p happy with regular old military dictatorship.

ælərdaɪs (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 12 October 2016 23:10 (four years ago) link

neruda never voiced support, or criticism, of peron.

ælərdaɪs (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 12 October 2016 23:10 (four years ago) link

exactly, which is why i said "he played his cards right"

as they say in spanish, "se hizo el tonto"

F♯ A♯ (∞), Wednesday, 12 October 2016 23:12 (four years ago) link

Neruda was Chilean.

Frederik B, Wednesday, 12 October 2016 23:13 (four years ago) link

lol they speak spanish there buddy

and jim is referring to borges's meeting with pinochet, but that's a separate argument, and borges said that he had no idea what pinochet was involved in

F♯ A♯ (∞), Wednesday, 12 October 2016 23:15 (four years ago) link

neruda wasn't political opportunist, he was generally very true to his stalinism. criticizing peron wouldn't have been controversial, and in fact the communists in argentina weren't huge fans.

borges is no angel, as most latin american conservatives of his time he was quite happy for liberal democracy to be overturned if it helped keep the status quo - which in latin america was massive inequality and quasi-feudalism.

ælərdaɪs (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 12 October 2016 23:23 (four years ago) link

he was a bit squeamish when the bodies started to pile up, which makes him more empathetic than many, but hardly unblemished.

ælərdaɪs (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 12 October 2016 23:24 (four years ago) link

gotta take off from work, but ya, i don't wholly agree with you

will try to reply later

F♯ A♯ (∞), Wednesday, 12 October 2016 23:34 (four years ago) link

we really took our eye off the ball in THIS thread

mark s, Thursday, 13 October 2016 11:12 (four years ago) link

took yr 'troll PR one last vast time' line and ran wild

sktsh, Thursday, 13 October 2016 12:03 (four years ago) link

ya i'd love to discuss this further with jim but this is not the thread (it involves a lot of political understanding of latin american "left" and "right" and how they're not equal to left and rigth concepts as say americans or canadians think of them)


F♯ A♯ (∞), Thursday, 13 October 2016 17:49 (four years ago) link

we really took our eye off the ball in THIS thread

― mark s, Thursday, 13 October 2016 Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

A beat writer won it. My theory holds.

What do I win?

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 13 October 2016 18:56 (four years ago) link

dylan not cohen

Har-@-Iago (wins), Thursday, 13 October 2016 19:02 (four years ago) link

Sorry I just read James Morrison on the other thread. He wins.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 13 October 2016 19:03 (four years ago) link

ginsberg is considered dylan's life long mentor though and has pretty openly said he is influenced by him


F♯ A♯ (∞), Thursday, 13 October 2016 19:05 (four years ago) link

cohen more of a traditional beat poet, though, you're right

F♯ A♯ (∞), Thursday, 13 October 2016 19:06 (four years ago) link

ok to bring this back to don delillo: really liked underworld but do you not feel he maybe goes too far with tying everything together with the idea of underworld. like there's some mafia dudes - UNDERWORLD - there's a guy doing graffiti in subway tunnels - UNDERWORLD - there's some nuclear waste being buried in Kazakhstan - UNDERWORLD, etc.

ælərdaɪs (jim in vancouver), Thursday, 13 October 2016 19:07 (four years ago) link

xp I was just riffing on xyzzz's "beckett not joyce" &c

Har-@-Iago (wins), Thursday, 13 October 2016 19:10 (four years ago) link

eleven months pass...

philip roth on his agent's sofa, sadly watching the liver going cold for the last time

― mark s, Thursday, October 13, 2016 12:23 PM (eleven months ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

(unsure why i said "for the last time" -- CLEARLY NOT FOR THE LAST TIME)

mark s, Thursday, 5 October 2017 11:45 (three years ago) link

Trying to picture Martin Amis right now.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 5 October 2017 11:55 (three years ago) link

picture an entire body made of tin ear

mark s, Thursday, 5 October 2017 12:06 (three years ago) link


j., Thursday, 5 October 2017 15:53 (three years ago) link

four months pass...

Underworld was awful. The zapruder bit was awful. The bit about Edgar Hoover was awful. Some of the writing was amazingly skillful but AMERICA in all caps is such a banal subject.

judith, Friday, 16 February 2018 23:53 (three years ago) link


Heavy Messages (jed_), Saturday, 17 February 2018 00:49 (three years ago) link

I think it was at least half a great book.

Probably never got more electrifying than the Pafko at the Wall opening unfortunately. Amazing piece of writing, that.

circa1916, Saturday, 17 February 2018 01:24 (three years ago) link

two years pass...

Any recommendations from the last decade or so of DeLillo novels?

change display name (Jordan), Tuesday, 8 December 2020 21:58 (four months ago) link

I thought Zero K was just ok, but I read it pretty soon after Underworld so I might have just been a little overDeLilloed at that point. He has a new one out now, doesnt he?

nobody like my rap (One Eye Open), Wednesday, 9 December 2020 13:19 (four months ago) link

it was disappointing imo

last decade? nah

johnny crunch, Wednesday, 9 December 2020 13:57 (four months ago) link

im gonna read the new one anyway. i liked point omega (maybe his most straightforwardly pretentious novel) but zero k not so much, felt very conventional and really just a rehash of earlier stuff that he's rehashed enough at this point (without the elliptical refinement of his more severely minimal stuff post underworld). looking down through his list of novels im less convinced he had a 'classic' period and the ones that really stand out for me ('the names,' 'libra' and 'falling man') are not come before and after much less interesting ones. (i do tend to find his most ambitious stuff fairly tedious. Ratners star is not as clever as it thinks it is and Underworld is infuriating.)

Also there's a review in the most recent LRB of the new one that i haven't read in case spoilers and also bc its by andrew o hagan but it might helpful?

plax (ico), Wednesday, 9 December 2020 14:27 (four months ago) link

I've only read Great Jones Street. I had two problems with it:

- the main character was a cipher, and since he's also the narrator it left the book bloodless. He has elements of Dylan/Jagger/Lennon as convenient from moment to moment, but I never felt DeLillo actually got into the character.
- like J. G. Ballard, the story was more a scenario being explained than a plot that we see working out. That's perhaps an obvious pitfall when the whole book takes place (as I recall) in one apartment.

I did walk past the actual Great Jones Street in New York, it's about as wide as it is long and only has a handful of buildings on it.

Halfway there but for you, Wednesday, 9 December 2020 15:27 (four months ago) link

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