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Don DeLillo

  Less than 30 years after the publication of his first novel, Americana (1971), Don DeLillo (b. 1936) has been recognized as among the most important writers of his generation. In 1999, he became the first American recipient of the Jerusalem Prize, awarded to writers "whose work expresses the theme of the freedom of the individual in society" and previously awarded to Milan Kundera, Mario Vargas Llosa, V. S. Naipaul, Graham Greene, Simone de Beauvoir and Jorge Luis Borges. The winner of the National Book Award for White Noise (1985) and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Mao II (1991) -- among other awards -- and already the subject of several books, DeLillo has achieved international prominence for novels, plays, and short stories that powerfully engage the political, historical, and philosophical issues of our time.

 

  White Noise

Better than any book I can think of, White Noise captures the particular strangeness of life in a time where humankind has finally learned enough to kill itself. Naturally, it's a terribly funny book, and the prose is as beautiful as a sunset through a particulate-filled sky. Nice-guy narrator Jack... Read more

 


  Underworld

While Eisenstein documented the forces of totalitarianism and Stalinism upon the faces of the Russian peoples, DeLillo offers a stunning, at times overwhelming, document of the twin forces of the cold war and American culture, compelling that "swerve from evenness" in which he finds events... Read more

 


  Libra

On November 22, 1963, in the streets of Dallas, Lee Harvey Oswald's path intersected with the President John F. Kennedy's and the world witnessed the terrifying explosion of America's dreams. In Libra Don DeLillo applies his masterful imagination to Kennedy's assassination and crestes eerily... Read more

 


  Mao II

Don DeLillo's follow-up to Libra, his brilliant fictionalization of the Kennedy assassination, Mao II is a series of elusive set-pieces built around the themes of mass psychology, individualism vs. the mob, the power of imagery and the search for meaning in a blasted, post-modern world. Bill Gray,... Read more

 


More Books by Don DeLillo

articles and reviews
from THE NEW YORK TIMES- September 16, 1997

Of America as a Splendid Junk Heap

By MICHIKO KAKUTANI


UNDERWORLD


In an earlier book, a Don DeLillo character spoke about a Joycean novel, a novel ''in which nothing is left out,'' a novel that would capture the nervous spin and drift of recent American history and freeze forever in words a past that never stops happening.


With his astonishing new novel, Mr. DeLillo has written that book, or at least a close approximation of it. ''Underworld'' is an amazing performance, a novel that encompasses some five decades of history, both the hard, bright world of public events and the more subterranean world of private emotions in which individuals are connected by a secret calculus of hope and loss. It is the story of one man, one family, but it is also the story of what happened to America in the second half of the 20th century... [more]


from THE NEW YORK TIMES- January 13, 1985

CROWDING OUT DEATH

By Jayne Anne Phillips

WHITE NOISE

The fiction of Don DeLillo is no longer the well-kept secret of a dedicated following. In such novels as ''Ratner's Star,'' ''Great Jones Street'' and ''The Names,'' Mr. DeLillo has dealt not so much with character as with culture, survival and the subtle, ever-increasing interdependence between the self and the national and world community. The he-man against the elements, the outlaw, the superhero exist only as myths in the modern world; we are nature's elements, a technologically oriented people nonetheless caught in the sieve of history. There are suspense and an urgent intelligence to Mr. DeLillo's writing, a sense of the widening gyre and the tight-drawn net. ''White Noise,'' his eighth novel, is the story of a college professor and his family whose small Midwestern town is evacuated after an industrial accident. In light of the recent Union Carbide disaster in India that killed over 2,000 and injured thousands more, ''White Noise'' seems all the more timely and frightening - precisely because of its totally American concerns, its rendering of a particularly American numbness... [more]


from THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS - November 6, 1997

Between Hell and History

by Luc Sante

UNDERWORLD

Underworld is the title of the archetypal first gangster movie(written by Ben Hecht and directed in 1927 by Josef von Sternberg), from which so many conventions of plot and lighting and characterization and incidental business still employed today directly descend. The term "underworld" now carries the title's sense—that of gangland, of a separate criminal sphere existing just under the skin of ordinary life—almost exclusively, so that its original metaphorical connotation has been nearly lost. But then, far fewer people believe in a literal hell anymore... [more]

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