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Valparaiso

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  359 ratings  ·  22 reviews
A man sets out on an ordinary business trip to Valparaiso, Indiana. It turns out to be a mock-heroic journey toward identity and transcendence. This is Don DeLillo's second play and it is funny, sharp, and deep-reaching. Its characters tend to have needs and desires shaped by the forces of broadcast technology. This is the way we talk to each other today. This is the way w ...more
Paperback, 107 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Pan MacMillan (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 636)
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Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
I started reading this while listening to the soundtrack to Synecdoche, New York, a film that is centered around a theater director/playwright named Caden Cotard, and as such incorporates his work into the narrative (and features it in a prominent and mind-fuck meta-narrative fashion in the latter half of the film). I felt like there was some kinship between DeLillo's strange play and something this fictional playwright, cooked up in the mind of Charlie Kaufman, would have involved himself with. ...more
Shannon
This is horrifyingly insightful. Since it is a play, and there is no narration, all the insightful things are said out loud by the characters. Which is part of why it's kind of horrifying, I think. Also, for the first.. about half of the play, i really couldn't figure out what exactly happened with this man (i think the author was intentionally vague), and it made the story seem cryptic and mysterious which was cool. Then when you figure out what happened, you're like "uh.. okay". But the point ...more
Mark Sacha
Reading a play, or a screenplay, for reading's sake is an activity necessarily inadequate, but not, I think, worthless. Especially when it comes to writers who have made their names elsewhere, as DeLillo has, whose trademark styles and concerns can be viewed as it were from a different angle. Unfortunately, Valparaiso does not reflect favorably on Don's engagement with media and private life - without the snappy prose to back it up, the deliberately alien dialogue he is known for takes center st ...more
David Debacher
Best play I've read in a while, although I think I liked the first act a little better than the second. The first act took the (now almost cliche) concept of leaving the reader guessing about the central actions that the plot is based upon to an entirely new level, which made it very hard to put down (I couldn't help finishing the play in an afternoon). The main protagonist spends most of the first act talking to a sea of reporters (all of whom are played by the same two people), repeating the s ...more
Gavin
The mood of this book was difficult to grasp. Watching this YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdFC1H...) of scene clips from a French production of Valparaiso made me realize I was really underestimating the dreaminess at first.
I think one of the main points DeLillo is trying to emphasize is the amplification of the minutiae of our human experience in today's world of mass communication. Delfina's bit especially. This poor guy made a flight plan error and he becomes a worldwide super
...more
Chris
Loved the first act, hated most of the second except for the very end.

The first act is complicated and brilliant. A man who had a silly experience (though there is something dark hiding in the corner) tells his story to the media in a never-ending series of interviews. Over the course of several days of repeating the same words, he starts becomes unable to say anything else; he is a scratched record frantically jumping between the same sentences getting more and more lost in the process. It is
...more
Kori
A very fascinating play about mass media. These days, it seems like everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame for the most asinine reasons, and that is the point Valparaiso is trying to make.

A man gets on the wrong flight and ends up in Chile. And so he is suddenly famous and ends up on every media outlet airing secrets and putting himself out there in some desperate search for identity.

I think the point of this was for the author to show how dependent some are on the media, and how it's become suc
...more
Adam
Are we there yet? Oh wait, we're just getting back to the starting point...
Bill
Don DeLillo's highly stylized dialogue is something you either "get" and love or something you've been forced to read for English class and hate it. This book is 52 pages of just that. Even the stage directions are written with that minimalist elegance of everything he's written since Underworld. I'm not saying it's perfect or the best thing he's ever written--some lines fall flat and a few jokes border on groaners. It's a must-read for any DeLillo fan and it's short enough to read on an airplan ...more
Kate
"Interview her uterus. That's where all the plots intersect. Talk to her nipples. Her nipples are sensitive to messages from orbiting satellites. You'll get some stimulating quotes. Talk to her clitoris. You'll have to submit questions in advance. The clitoris doesn't always speak to me. But it will speak to you. It speaks in codes. It speaks in tongues." p.48
Ann M
The reading experience did not compare with seeing this live, altho I like the story line -- man goes to wrong town of Valparaiso, in wrong country, thus becoming a ten-minute celebrity. In print, it's repetitive, but a good lesson on the difference between print and dramatic work.
Bill
Interesting idea with a little humor worked in and full of typical DeLillo themes. Unfortunately, he hits you over the head with them. Nothing discreet with this one; far from DeLillo's best.
incipit mania
Incipit

La scena.Il soggiorno di casa Majesky ...
Valparaiso incipitmania.com
Chris
A quick but thought-provoking read. Asks important questions - what is a spectacle, what is fame? How do we define the "self" in the Internet age?
John Baker sr.
I saw the play and loved it, but I probably wouldn't enjoy reading it. Like Shakespeare, a good DeLillo play is meant to be seen and not read.
Bradley

Ouch. I am a huge DeLillo fan, but this one reads like a parody of his work. Some pretty language, but mostly gratuitous self-importance.
Joelle
Amazing. Learned about it from Miwon Kwon's article "The Wrong Place"
Todd Melby
Michael. Miguel. Two names. Two worlds. One confused man.
jean lice
reads like Lynch films at times.
Billyparham
Più nichilistico del solito.
Ariadna
I liked the Day Room better
Lauren
Lauren marked it as to-read
Jul 27, 2015
John
John added it
Jul 14, 2015
Annelise
Annelise marked it as to-read
Jul 11, 2015
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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
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“I don’t want your candor. I want your soul in a silver thimble.” 45 likes
“The term itself—my life—is a desperate overstatement.” 15 likes
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