Great Jones Street
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Great Jones Street

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  1,695 ratings  ·  92 reviews
The narrator of this novel is Bucky Wunderlick, a Dylan-Jagger amalgam who finds he's gone as far as he knows how. Mid tour he leaves his rock band and holes up in a dingy East Village apartment, in Great Jones Street. The plot revolves around his retreat and a drug designed to silence dissidents.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published January 1st 1994 by Penguin Books (first published 1973)
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148th out of 478 books — 699 voters
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Community Reviews

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I'm going to be dropping some Infinite Jest spoilers throughout this review. So don't read this review if you haven't read Infinite Jest. Seriously, don't read this review. Or read it until I say I'm going to drop a major DFW spoiler (not really I ended up not being nearly as spoiler-ific as I thought I would be, but there is till a major thing said that I believe knowing would make a first reading of Infinite Jest less interesting).

I have a new theory about Infinite Jest and maybe others have h...more
Stuart Ross
Mar 01, 2013 Stuart Ross rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: dark people
this book is very dark. not as dark as i expected. has a 4 page riff on "pornography for children" vs: "child pornography" that had me laughing way too loud on an amtrak train.
Ironico, visionario, globale e sottovalutato.

"Il male è un movimento in direzione del nulla". Bucky Wunderlich è una rockstar che si muove in direzione del male; un male inteso non come morte, ma come trasformazione. Bucky si sta trasformando, lo sente, lo percepisce, e come un animale al capolinea, sceglie il posto in cui passare il tempo che gli resta (le mura della casa della sua fidanzata in Great Jones Street, a Manhattan, dove si ritira insieme alla sua band mentre è all'apice del success...more
Let me begin by saying that the first chapter of this book is a 5-star chapter. No doubt about it. And the first sentence...yeah, that's a 5-star sentence.

"Fame requires every kind of excess."

What a perfect way to begin a first-person novel about an aging rockstar/one-man-zeitgeist. And one amazing feat of this chapter--and the book as a whole really--is that, despite how few details he reveals, we believe that our narrator, Bucky Wonderlick, has bathed in the putrid, holy waters of this exces...more
Nate D
Oct 26, 2008 Nate D rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Past or present LES residents and disillusioned rock stars.
Shelves: read-in-2008
A quietly unnerving downward spiral.

In his ongoing survey of modern America, DeLillo's third book saw him looking at art and commerce through the lens of rock music and celebrity. One gets the sense that the narrator, rock star Bucky Wonderlick, having fled the stage mid-tour and retracted into a cold, empty apartment in a Lower East Side that was still both of those things (compared to its scrubbed, crowded modern counterpart), is somewhat paralyzed by his need to fully consider and understand...more
". . . permanent withdrawal to that unimprinted level where all sound is silken and nothing erodes in the mad weather of language." Presages Cobain, or more so Yorke's "how to disappear completely". Fantastic sentences. Chicks don't dig it because it's ultra a-emotional, but dudes dig it for the cool response in the face of very good reasons for paranoia re: the system. Worth it if you've read Underworld and Libra, but probably not so hot if you haven't and therefore don't recognize nascent expr...more
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en

“Las señales del comercio fueron apareciendo lentamente por la calle Great Jones, los envíos y las recepciones, el empaquetado de exportaciones, los curtidos por encargo. Era una calle antigua. De hecho, sus materiales eran su esencia, lo cual explicaba la fealdad de hasta el último centímetro. Pero no era una miseria terminal. Hay calles que en plena decadencia poseen una especie de tono redentor, cierta sugerencia de formas nuevas que están...more
JS Found
This slim novel is many things: a meditation on the spiritual bankruptcy of fame and 1970s America; a satire of art and commerce; a satire of corporations and the counter culture; a film noir; an evocation of urban decay; a novel of characters making observations on modern life and waxing philosophical. Once again, DeLillo writes beautiful language. He loves people talking and conversation. His characters make lots of monologues. One of them is a writer who expounds on the brutality of the write...more
Book three on my list of nine Delillo books I'm reading this year. This is the first one I came to with some trepidation. It's hard to imagine a good outcome when an author is writing a book about rock music culture but claims to listen to "mostly jazz." An outsider's perspective can be good, it's not hard to imagine falling easily into perfunctory dismissal.

Of course, we're talking 1972 here. This isn't "Good Golly Miss Molly" anymore. It's not even "All You Need Is Love." It's after the days...more
A quick review of Great Jones Street - simply didn't like this. I picked it up at Book Off with the rest of my "to Steve from Steve" Christmas presents. My initial view was a Penguin label (generally a positive), a book about musicians and a book about NY. None of this sounds bad to me. I just didn't get it. I suppose I'm not Rock and Roll enough, because the whole sitting around doing nothing did nothing for me. On the cover this mentions nihilism. I'm thinking maybe I don't enjoy nihilistic e...more
Premessa: questo è uno di quei libri sfortunati che ogni volta che ti metti a leggerli succede qualcosa che interrompe/disturba la lettura. Quindi sappiate che non l'ho letto attentissimamente.

Fatto sta che comunque non mi è piaciuto tantissimo, ma non mi è neanche dispiaciuto. È scritto bene, soprattutto per quanto riguarda i dialoghi, personaggi caratterizzati bene eccetera. Il problema sta nella trama e in certe scene che non hanno né capo né coda, nel senso che non sono conseguenza di niente...more

Not only is this book a remnant of the past, it is a remenant that is achingly birthing itself and has been, in the pop culture since 2000, finding new the voice of nihilism and "the void" to the youth culture.

Back when Great Jones Street lacked an ATM and Country Blue Grass Blues wasn't a clothing store, there lived a race of children that repopulated a Manhattan that had become, frankly, Escape from New York. But there was some beauty in it.

There must be, or why would Jennifer Clement's book "...more
Parrish Lantern

“Fame requires every kind of excess”

“I mean true fame, not the sombre renown of weary statesmen or chinless kings. I mean long journeys across gray space. I mean danger, the very edge of the void, the circumstance of one man imparting an erotic terror to the dreams of the republic………….

( is it clear I was a hero of Rock ‘n’ Roll)

So starts Don Delillo’s 3rd novel, Great Jones Street. The hero, Bucky Wunderlick, has left the group high & dry, by dropping out of a national tour at the height...more
Óscar Brox
Los primeros años de la década de los 70 empezaron con las muertes de Morrison o Hendrix, que hicieron más palmaria aquella visión del rock que cantara Eric Burdon como un lugar “to wear that ball and chain”. Las revoluciones juveniles se refugiaron entre las sábanas de pequeños dormitorios y el éxtasis de aquellas generaciones previas comenzó a disiparse junto al sueño de un nuevo orden para la sociedad. Mientras el rock psicodélico apuraba sus últimos coletazos, a la espera de que su sonido ev...more
Jul 14, 2008 Kirstie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: NYC natives, fans of experimental fiction, surreality, an explorations of nihlism.
This one really deserves 3 1/2 stars and I'm also grading it somewhat relatively to Don DeLillo's other novels and it does pale a bit in comparison. The main premise of this is that a big rock star lead singer gets bogged down within the realm of the mass consciousness and retreats unexpectantly and suddenly to the realm of the private. However, instead of his mountain hideout, he actually goes to an apt. in NYC. Some of this is my speculation but I think DeLillo was making some pretty accurate...more
Jeffrey Paris [was Infinite Tasks]
Nearly any paragraph of this beautiful work is more compelling than shelves of reading I have done. Delillo sparkles, challenges, satisfies.

I wish I had known how closely the structure of Great Jones Street mirrors (or sets the stage for) Cosmopolis, when I read and re-read the latter over the past decade: the carefully chosen quarters for the bulk of the "action"; the on-site visits from various constituencies and their analytical presentations; the awful spiral toward silence, privacy, inward...more
Nov 14, 2013 Spiros rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of absurdist shaggy-dog tales
" 'Watney by this time has placed a call to his house outside London and finds himself in the regrettable situation of not being at home to answer the telephone. He's trying to call himself, ding-ding, and nobody's picking up the phone. The result is fear and dread. He sits on the floor weeping real tears into the phone. Oh, it's a crisis of no small proportion. The guy is in the grip of blackest anxiety. Absolute terror in his eyes. Oh, he's terror-stricken, no doubt about it, ding-ding-ding in...more
Don Delillo's third novel proves to be a good read, though it's one of his weaker efforts. Delillo's best works are about subtext, not the story he's ostensibly telling. This novel, with its rather straighforward story arc, winds up being a bit of a disappointment to readers overly familiar with his work.

This novels tells the tale of Bucky Wanderlick, a musician in the prime of his career. In the middle of a tour, Bucky walks off stage, leaving his fans, bandmates, and record label in the lurch...more
Ilya Kavalerov
I started this book with empathy for the macho-nihilist for the lead character. This made the book open in an unusually way for DeLillo, since it was relatable, and therefore egotistically engaging. Soon, it went back to the DeLillo norm, which is wacky silliness, stimulating only disbelief. Still not as good as Mao II for me. I might even be too optimistic with the 4 start rating, since I am jaded by my special interest in the book's subject matter (lead is a rock god).
Tyler Jones
Ah, 1973.

I was a small child, just figuring out what the world was about, and feeling both awe and fear. Even then I had a sense that the old order was crumbling and that these long-haired young adults seemed to have an idea about what was coming next. This book perfectly captures the weirdness, the paranoia, the anything-goes-ness of 1973, which I guess makes it kind of dated now.

A great little time capsule of a novel.
Michael Vagnetti
Novel? Here, the writing is fried circuitry, too hot to touch, but still engineered, built to do work, a writer's mad science. Paragraphs are the tracks left by throbs and pulses of energy coming 'round again. Share the urgency. Decorum is busted. The writing takes the sharp ends of short sentences and punctures holes in the page. Breathing holes. Shunts to somewhere.

This writing has a weird relationship with "the void." It's spectral, it's everywhere but it comes in hints. Shake the book. Loo...more
Eventually I'll likely read everything DeLillo writes, and I picked this one up because it's named after one of my favorite street names in Manhattan. But it's very early DeLillo, and seems unfortunately Pynchonesque, from a writer not yet his own person, but getting there. Much of DeLillo's work is marred, in my view, by sociological considerations, commentary on the times rather than explorations of individual situation and sensibility, and this suffers from that also.

As a sort of disclaimer...more
Don DeLillo is regarded as one of the greatest living American writers, so naturally I had to check out his work. Great Jones Street was unusual, to say the least. It's one of those books that make it difficult to answer the question, "What is it about?" Sure, it has a plot, but "what it's about" is really tangential to the happenings of the book themselves. Ostensibly it's about art and its meaning, a subject near and dear to my heart.

The book doesn't have much action and is told mostly through...more
Jess Palmer
I've been meaning to read Great Jones Street for two years now, on the recommendation of a complete stranger. Separated from friends at a concert, I chatted up the people around me. One was a writer, and when we got to talking about books he said this was his favorite. By no means is it the best book I've ever read, but I definitely enjoyed it. The ex-rock star narrator, Bucky Wunderlick, is amusingly aloof and brings you into his disenchanted frame of mind. He isn't a character I want to be, bu...more
I LOVE VACATION! I can actually finish a book. Anyway, this one is like Crying of Lot 49 Lite, which is alright for holiday I guess. The drug/rockstar/paranoia plot is a tight draw but he just ends up hitting you over the head with it. Really, by the last chapter I was just looking forward to getting to the not-so-surprising conclusion of rockstar Bucky Wunderlick, but maybe because I've got a book about Spain to read and I'm here, so Great Jones Street, even set in the '70s, is reminding me of...more
A dense piece of Nixon-era paranoia, with all the concerns of that era - excess, illusion, the nature of fame and power, the dark end of the sixties dream - I dont know, maybe I was expecting Performance or something, but Delillo really set himself an impossible task in having to create and give voice to the kind of rock star magus figure that the novel required. You just can't invent a Dylan or a Jagger or a Bowie, or you can try but it's going to be embarrasing - especially if you're going to...more
A proto-Kurt Cobain mega rock star drops out of the concert scene to vegetate in a tenement room.

Contemplation on American mass entertainment iconography from the late-1960s; interesting and occasionally amusing. The ending was far, far less worse than I'd feared. Had thought the creepy New York City anarchist/back to nature cult was going to do our vile hero worse than they did.

The writer in the apartment above the rock star's, however, is f_____ up, and the subject matter he delves into lim...more
Eric T. Voigt
I took two days off of work, in the return of freezing weather and falling snow, to hole up under the warm sheets or on the cool couch with a poodle and finish this thing. Bucky Wunderlick's plague of coincidence is some brutal stuff. It's hard to have a vast network of criminals, wanna-be criminals and legally operating criminals expecting so much from you, I imagine. Had precursoring tones to it when thinking of "Running Dog" coming afterwards, with the violent murders and the confusion and ra...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 Cosmopolis Falling Man

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