Cosmopolis
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Cosmopolis

3.19 of 5 stars 3.19  ·  rating details  ·  8,894 ratings  ·  926 reviews
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...more
Published (first published 2003)
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Ian Paganus
Pre-Film Review

I re-read this novel, before seeing David Cronenberg’s film (see Post 21).

SPOILERS

This review reveals what I think about the fate of the protagonist at the end of the novel.

My views are based on my interpretation of material that starts at page 55 of the 209 page novel.

If this material or my interpretation is incorrect, then the novel leaves you hanging at the end.

As my views on the novel as a whole depend on an interpretation of the protagonist’s fate, please don’t read my review...more
Eileen
It's a weird and complicated novel. Absolutely not something I would normally read. It reminds me of the literary books I had to read for my High school graduation exams. So why torture myself and read it?
Well, in May 2011 David Cronenberg will start filming the movie based on this novel that will be released somewhere in 2012. The very talented Robert Pattinson (who I adore) will play the role of Eric Packer, a newly wed financial wizard and billionaire, who drives through town (New York) in h...more
Schuyler
This is book number eight on my journey to read everything written by Don DeLillo. I have not yet read his more famous works, Libra and White Noise, though I'm kind of saving them because in a way, I know it's probably going to be 'down hill' from there. That is to say, Underworld, Libra, and White Noise are probably his best work. So I'm jumping around them. Well, I did read Underworld, but I will probably end up re-reading that one.

Everyone seems to either hate Cosmopolis or just appreciate i...more
Jacob J.

The Problem of Language:
“It was a matter of silences, not words.”

There are those who indict DeLillo on charges of criminal literary laziness, but I would submit that actually, what he possesses is an immense understanding of the limitations inherent in language as a mode of expression, and while perhaps superficially a little ironic, I would also submit that it is a crucial thing on which to have a grasp, as a practitioner of the written word. As evidenced by the overall pithiness, refusal to go...more
Shovelmonkey1
Nov 16, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: urban poets and philosophers
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: HMV book sale
This week I have read two Don DeLillo books; this one and White Noise, which thus far I have been too lazy to review. This may be regarded as a strange turn of events as after reading The Body Artist (my first foray into Don’s world), I had already bitterly sworn not to pick up another of his books. Anyway for one reason and another (causality :Don DeLillo books on sale for £2 each in HMV) here we are and I’ve read two more of his books with Underworld sitting, brooding darkly on my to-be-read s...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Ladies and Gentlemen and you multitude of the Landless:

This review would be more properly tagged/shelved "filmed" by myself, but seeing as how I did also read this book and maybe I'll add a second edition for a second review when I bother to reread the book. But...

I finally did see the Cronenberg attempt on DeLillo last night; much delayed, I don't get out to houses of movies often and netfilx recently allowed it to stream, pre-paid, into my clearly not limousine-shaped abode. And, quite true, I...more
Marguerite Kaye
I'm not completely sure what existential angst is, but I am pretty certain this book gave me it. And nightmares. And it made me laugh out loud in places too, and some of the language stopped me in my tracks - mostly in a good way.

This was horribly compelling, utterly terrifying and unfortunately rang an awful lot of bells. In many ways it was picaresque a sort of modern-day Tom Jones journey through Manhatten, or maybe more like Alice Through the Looking Glass (meets Bonfire of the Vanities). W...more
Pamela W
Apr 11, 2008 Pamela W rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Pamela by: Rosenberg, the bastard
Listened to this on audio during the commute and found the reader's voice really grating. Main character? Creepy and hateful, but not in a provocative way. More annoying. I don't generally enjoy reading (or listening) to lengthy soliloquies that are just excuses for phrases/random analogies or waxing on life's headier ponderances. Sounded forced, not ---ophical (insert prefix of choice). I wanted to perpetrate violence by the end of this story time, and I don't mean riotous/life-affirming violen...more
Sunday
From this 2012 vantage point, Cosmopolis from 2003 seems dated like a horse and carriage. Bringing humanity to the wealthy is just not the fashion, and this spiritual awakening of Patrick Bateman was fun then, but weirdly irrelevant right now, in the era of the Pruis and the hostility towards the "1%." Although Eric was never really meant to be an everyman hero, he really really really is not one now.

This book was fabulously written (hookers have "duck butts" as they leave for home in the morni...more
R.
Althought set in April of 2000, the novel Cosmopolis (cosmic...city: the story has a very spaceship glow to it; the gadgetry the narrator describes in Ellisian detail...the rocketship limo, the android guards with names like...like Torval...the voice-activated weaponry) seems more a prophecy of here and now (or, yes, even six months in the future) than a satire of pre-9/11 excesses that, well, kind of got us into the whole 9/11 fix.

Eric Packer speaks in enigmaticisms - beautiful enigmaticisms -...more
Jen
Feb 11, 2011 Jen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Patrick Bateman, Leopold Bloom
Shelves: 2011
If this is your first DeLillo, back away slowly and pick up a copy of White Noise or maybe the The Body Artist instead. (Unless you're breathless with anticipation to hear Robert Pattinson mutter the words "I want to bottle-fuck you slowly with my sunglasses on" while he submits to a prostate exam in crosstown traffic. In that case...well, carry on.)

Cosmopolis reads as more cultural theory/critique than novel, with exaggerated but vacant characters and implausible setpieces that are really no mo...more
Dave-O
Dellilo's New York limo ride flows well enough through the first half of the book. The premise allows itself to open an array of bizzare situations: a billionaire twenty-something want to ride in his suped-up stretch limo to get a haircut. On the way he has encounters with lovers, ex-lovers, and advisors in matters of technology, finance, security, and theory. Dellilo's prose is highly restrained with limited, but rich descriptions of neighborhoods that unfold through the eyes of billionaire Eri...more
Trevor
I really enjoyed this book, enjoyed it in ways that I rarely enjoy novels. It is a couple of years since I read it and so I can only leave you with the impressions of it that have lasted. This is a book about the world that has built up around us and how even those who we might be excused for thinking ‘understand’ that world (we might perhaps even be tempted to claim they have ‘built’ that world) actually are as much acted upon and victims of it as we are.

The best summary I could give of this bo...more
Stephen M
Jun 26, 2012 Stephen M rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Delillo Fans
Recommended to Stephen M by: David Cronenberg
White Noise was the greatest thing I've ever read, but every Delillo since has been a lukewarm glass of mehmonade.
Amber
Yes, I read this book because Robert Pattinson has been cast to play the lead role in the screen adaptation. Having said that, I'm still glad I read it. I think a great deal of my issues with this as a book will be fixed in the movie. I occasionally had trouble realizing when the setting had changed, such as when Eric returned to the car. I would also have to go back and reread long strings of dialogue in order to track who was speaking each line. Both of those issues will be easy to correct in...more
Michael Seidlinger
What? Huh? Okay?

These are not indications of confusion. I completely absorbed Cosmopolis and experienced every facet of the near-novella.

Given that, I must question the entire purpose of this piece. It certainly provides an ample-enough lens for American excess, disaffection, and dislocation... but I'm not sure it goes anywhere beyond the "image" of this particular portrayal.

I need a haircut too... but unlike the rich, I either cut it myself or drive the 1.2 miles to a Hair Cuttery and make it...more
Jonfaith
Poetry pours from Cosmopolis, a sweaty rut of discourse and images about the nature of power in our world. Delillo is prescient and impactful, but he's always been, hasn't he?

The protagonist finds obsoletion everywhere and the reader cringes, suddenly questioning their own utility. The ending proved blurred but effective. I sense the message within. The dedication to Paul Auster was intriguing as well. I may see the film now.
Suzanne
Strangely this novel has received many negative reviews. Most of them compare this book against other Delillo works and feel it falls below his usual standard of excellence in prose. Having only read one, at this point, my view is very different.
The novel is based on a day in the life of its main character, Eric Packer, a 28 year old brilliant Wall Street currency trader who has made billions of dollars anticipating the market trends of worldwide currency. Not unlike Joyce's, "Ulysses" and Woo...more
Alex Telander
This is my second attempt with Don DeLillo, the first being last year’s The Body Artist, and having read Cosmopolis, I still don’t know what all the fuss is about this guy. Maybe it’s an “East Coaster” thing, for the guy just doesn’t impress me much. He’s the kind of author who attempts to use long words, complex run-on sentence, and go off on long and boring tangents which really have no bearing on the novel, and any real meaning or truth to offer the reader.

Cosmopolis is about a really rich gu...more
Jill
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
sologdin
Nutshell: one-percenter gets haircut, an event worthy of 200 pages.

The less looney toons sibling of American Psycho (“the logical extension of business is murder“ (113)), this text, contrary to my intentions, was not necessarily the correct one to brainbleach the Ayn Rands that I’d read immediately prior hereto--though her mantra regarding self-made industrialists, who nevertheless are heirs to massive fortunes, is given mock heroic treatment here as “self made,” “ruthless,” “strong,” “brilliant...more
Dan
an oil-and-water mix of brilliance and over-bearing allegory. the good outweighs the bad.

it's amazing that this book was written in 2003, because it ever-so-slightly predates the apex of corporate-greed-entropy in america. it's hard not to see mark zuckerberg in eric packer, the 28-year-old billionaire at the heart of the story. his icy, semi-autistic demeanor, technological zealotry and fascination with the movement of capital calls to mind the facebook guru immediately (they're even the same...more
Hadrian
To be honest, I had no idea a movie was out until just yesterday. Does that speak to the movie's lack of advertising, or my near-total ignorance of movies?

All's well. I'd rather not have the movie affect my perception of the novel. It was a safe bet, as this was a deeply challenging and stimulating little book, and now one of my favorites by DeLillo.

DeLillo's ornate and hallucinatory prose style is reason enough to read him. So we turn to the 'plot', which is a very loose definition for the ser...more
Sarah Funke
Liked this a ton. Very spare writing, even for DD, so unencumbered by simile and metaphor, so beautiful and crisp and sharp and rhythmic, that you have to read a lot of it twice to understand it. Plenty of the usual quotable wisdom; some stunning passages, and terrific juxtapositions. A great representative paragraph:

"The tower gave him strength and depth. He knew what he wanted, a haircut, but stood a while longer in the soaring noise of the street and studied the mass and scale of the tower. T...more
Jordan
Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis is about a thinking-man’s Patrick Bateman, set in the year 2000, who just wants to get across town to get a haircut while keeping tabs on the rise and fall of the Yen in the stock market. Sure, Eric Packer meets and encounters people along the way: financial advisors, a doctor, women whom he has sex with, and the guy that used to work for him and now wants him dead; there’s also the President making a visit to the city, a famous rapper’s funeral procession, and protester...more
RandomAnthony
My DeLillo experience is scattershot. I read Libra a long, cold spring weekend in the late nineties when I was depressed because of work and needed to pass the time. Then I read White Noise maybe a decade later but I read, from what I can remember, quickly and carelessly over a visit to my wife's family. I own Falling Man and used to own Underworld but I lent that book to someone, I think, and I never got the book back. No big deal. So when I picked up Cosmopolis in a literary lull, mostly becau...more
christa
Eric Packer has a 48-room spread complete with a lap pool, shark tank and screening room. His is one in the line of nondescript white limousines parked out in front of the building. The floor of his ride is made of imported marble. It has a bathroom and enough space for his daily rectal exam. He’s got a cartoonish load of money, his billions birthing billions. What he needs, in Don Delillo’s novel “Cosmopolis,” is a haircut.

It’s the spring of 2000, but 2000 is tilted to something more futuristi...more
Big Milton
I was hoping by page 24 that the protagonist of this novel would be dragged from his limousine and beaten by children with Tickle Me Elmo dolls loaded with bricks. And then we would never hear from him again. But that ain't what happened. Unfortunately. A terrible novel by a great writer.
Oscar
En ‘Cosmópolis’ asistimos durante un día a la vida de un perdedor, Eric Packer. Lo curioso es que Eric es un multimillonario dedicado a las altas finanzas, que pese a su juventud, lo tiene todo, siendo además de los que deciden el futuro de otros mediante sus inversiones y especulaciones. En este día en concreto, Eric se levanta por la mañana con dos ideas en la cabeza: arriesgar todo su dinero a que el yen japonés no subirá, y cortarse el pelo.

Durante esta larga jornada, Eric viajará en su limu...more
Kirk
DeLillo's prose is beautiful, accessible and riddled with insight. Unfortunately, the merits of his prose work against plot in Cosmopolis. There's something to be said for authors who can write an entire book about a rich man stuck in traffic. On one hand, you have to respect DeLillo for his ability to infuse the mundane with such beauty and elegance. On the other hand, who gives a shit about a rich asshole who is so stubborn that he insists on crawling at a snail's pace through traffic to get a...more
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Don DeLillo is an American author best known for his novels, which paint detailed portraits of American life in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. He currently lives outside of New York City.

Among the most influential American writers of the past decades, DeLillo has received, among author awards, a National Book Award (White Noise, 1985), a PEN/Faulkner Award (Mao II, 1991), and an American...more
More about Don DeLillo...
White Noise Underworld Libra Falling Man Mao II

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“There are dead stars that still shine because their light is trapped in time. Where do I stand in this light, which does not strictly exist?” 79 likes
“Even when you self-destruct, you want to fail more, lose more, die more than others, stink more than others.” 75 likes
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