'A brilliant excursion into the decadence of contemporary culture' Sunday Times Eric Packer is a twenty-eight-year-old multi-billionaire asset manager. We join him on what will become a particularly eventful April day in turn-of-the-twenty-first-century Manhattan. He's on a personal odyssey, to get a haircut. Sitting in his stretch limousine as it ...
'A brilliant excursion into the decadence of contemporary culture' Sunday Times Eric Packer is a twenty-eight-year-old multi-billionaire asset manager. We join him on what will become a particularly eventful April day in turn-of-the-twenty-first-century Manhattan. He's on a personal odyssey, to get a haircut. Sitting in his stretch limousine as it moves across town, he finds the city at a virtual standstill because the President is visiting, a rapper's funeral is proceeding, and a violent protest is being staged in Times Square by anti-globalist groups. Most worryingly, Eric's bodyguards are concerned that he may be a target ...An electrifying study in affectlessness, infused with deep cynicism and measured detachment; a harsh indictment of the life-denying tendencies of capitalism; as brutal a dissection of the American dream as Wolfe's Bonfire or Ellis's Psycho, Cosmopolis is a caustic prophecy all too quickly realized. 'A prose-poem about New York ...DeLillo has always been good at telling us where we're heading ...we ignore him at our peril' Blake Morrison, Guardian
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Publishers Weekly, 2003-06-02 For a book about a 28-year-old new-economy billionaire with a "frozen heart," Patton adopts a distant, machine-like narrative tone that has all the warmth of the computer HAL in Stanley Kubrick's 2001. It's a fitting approach, as the asset manager at the novel's center, Eric Packer, is hardly an avaricious tycoon, but rather an insular and literate egotist who seems more given to detached, philosophical reveries on everyday trivialities than to serious business analysis. That, too, fits, as this novel from DeLillo (Underworld; White Noise) takes place entirely in one day as Packer's life unravels while he's driven across Manhattan to get a haircut. He remains aloof both to listeners and to those around him, and Patton's understated reading imbues the proceedings with the subtle edginess of a mild drug. That's not to say that things are completely monotone, though; Patton also deftly portrays characters ranging from Packer's gruff, paranoid head of security to his aging Italian barber, one of the few characters who seem truly human. But the book is really an extended meditation, and while Patton's pitch may be perfect, the recording isn't for everyone. Simultaneous release with the Scribner hardcover (Forecasts, Dec. 9, 2002). (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2002-12-09 DeLillo skates through a day in the life of a brilliant and precocious New Economy billionaire in this monotone 13th novel, a study in big money and affectlessness. As one character remarks, 28-year-old Eric Packer "wants to be one civilization ahead of this one." But on an April day in the year 2000, Eric's fortune and life fall apart. The story tracks him as he traverses Manhattan in his stretch limo. His goal: a haircut at Anthony's, his father's old barber. But on this day his driver has to navigate a presidential visit, an attack by anarchists and a rapper's funeral. Meanwhile, the yen is mounting, destroying Eric's bet against it. The catastrophe liberates Eric's destructive instinct-he shoots another character and increases his bet. Mostly, the action consists of sequences in the back of the limo (where he stages meetings with his doctor, various corporate officers and a New Economy guru) interrupted by various pit stops. He lunches with his wife of 22 days, Elise Shifrin. He has sex with two women, his art consultant and a bodyguard. He is hit in the face with a pie by a protester. He knows he is being stalked, and the novel stages a final convergence between the ex-tycoon and his stalker. DeLillo practically invented the predominant vernacular of the late '90s (the irony, the close reading of consumer goods, the mock complexity of technobabble) in White Noise, but he seems surprisingly disengaged here. His spotlighted New Economy icon, Eric, doesn't work, either as a genius financier (he is all about gadgetry, not exchange-there's no love of the deal in his "frozen heart") or a thinker. The threats posed by the contingencies that he faces cannot lever him out of his recalcitrant one-dimensionality. DeLillo is surely an American master, but this time out, he is doodling. (Apr.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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