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 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).
Fair. A readable copy only. All pages and the cover are intact, may not include dust jacket. Pages may include considerable notes in pen or have highlighting. Possible ex library copy. May not contain accessories.
Fair. Good copy for reading, may have heavy page wear with writing textual notes highlighting or be an heavily used ex library copy with library markings, stickers or stamps. Dust jacket or accessories may not be included.
Publishers Weekly, 1989-05-05 In search of his roots, a successful but unhappy TV executive takes off for the heartland of America. ``This first novel is peopled with characters alienated not only from one another, but from themselves. It has the smell of staleness and despair. It is also, with its deadly accurate observations, its veracious dialogue, and its consistency of view, brilliantly written,'' maintained PW. (July)
Publishers Weekly, 1988-07-15 DeLillo's ninth novel takes its title from Lee Harvey Oswald's zodiac sign, the sign of ``balance.'' And, as in all his fiction ( Running Dog , The Names , White Noise ), DeLillo's perfectly realized aim is to balance plot, theme and structure so that the novel he builds around Oswald (an unlikely and disturbingly sympathetic protagonist) provokes the reader with its clever use of history, its dramatic pacing and its immaculate and detailed construction. The plot of the novel is history itselfand history, here, is a system of plots and conspiracies: the U.S. government has plotted to invade Cuba, and there are CIA agents who want retribution against President Kennedy for his halfhearted support of the Bay of Pigs operation; there are Cubans plotting revenge on JFK for the same reason and for, they fear, his plot to forge a rapprochement with Castro; there is a lone gunman, Oswald, who is conspired upon by history and circumstance, and who himself plots against the status quo. The novel bears dissection on many levels, but is, taken whole, a seamless, brilliant work of compelling fiction. What makes Libra so unsettling is DeLillo's ability to integrate literary criticism into the narrative, commenting throughout on the nature and conventions of fiction itself without disturbing the flow of his story. The characters are storytellers: CIA agents and Cuban immigrants retell old plots in their minds and write fantasy plots to keep themselves alive; Nicholas Branch, also of the CIA, has spent 15 years writing an in-house history of the assassination that will never uncover its deepest secrets and that in any case no one will read; Oswald, defecting to the Soviet Union, hopes to write short stories of contemporary American lifedyslexic, he is aware of words as pictures of themselves not simply as name tags for the material world. DeLillo interweaves fact and fiction as he draws us inexorably toward Dallas, November 22. The real people (Jack Ruby, Oswald, his mother and Russian wife) are retrieved from history and made human, their stories involving and absorbing; the imagined characters are placed into history as DeLillo imagines it to have come to pass. By subtly juxtaposing the blinding intensity of DeLillo's own crystal-clear, composite version of events against the blurred reality of the Zapruder film and other artifacts of the actual assassination, Libra ultimately becomes a comment on the entire body of DeLillo's work: Why do we understand fiction to reflect truth? Why do we trust a novelist to tell us the whole story? And what is the truth that fiction reveals? 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo; BOMC main selection; QPBC selection; first serial to Esquire. (August)
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