Jen's Reviews > Cosmopolis: A Novel

Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo
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Feb 11, 11

bookshelves: 2011
Recommended for: Patrick Bateman, Leopold Bloom
Read in January, 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 more than conduits for DeLillo's postmodernist riffs on global economics, innovation versus obsolescence, and the mystical patterns of nature and technology. However, I'm willing to forgive Mr. DeLillo his silly plotting because his writing is so insanely compelling. At the risk of repeating myself, Dude can write a fucking sentence.

Favorite moment: wading into the Spencer Tunick-style sea of nudity and - oh, why not? - deciding to join in. Runner-up, for sheer absurdity: the would-be Pie Assassin.

I also enjoyed Packer's mental meta-ramblings on anachronism (skyscrapers, ATMs), the abstraction of time, and the weird temporal displacement he observes on his fancy limo monitors and - at the book's culmination - on his even fancier watch.

The aforementioned prostate? It's asymmetrical. That might be all Eric Packer needs to know about his own obsolescence.

Regarding the movie adaptation...color me skeptical. For me, DeLillo's genius resides in his meticulous wordsmithing, not his plots, and I can't imagine translating the sublime experience of reading him to the screen. Although if anyone can create something delightfully weird and mildly unwatchable out of this, it's probably Cronenberg.
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message 1: by Serendipitous (new)

Serendipitous It sounds like "Bright Lights, Big City" for the new millenium.


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