Paul's Reviews > Americana

Americana by Don DeLillo
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Jan 04, 12

bookshelves: 2011
Read from December 22 to 30, 2011

All of DeLillo's major themes are here: Fear of death, power of the image (image vs. reality), society vs. the individual. His signature style is here as well; pretty amazing that he nailed it in his first go-round. That said, it feels a bit like he was trying to get everything in, as if this might be his last chance to say it. Most sentences shine in typical DeLillo fashion, but more than a few fall slightly flat; if you're familiar enough with his work you'll catch 'em. Also, things tend to drag a bit when he goes off on his abstract, stylistic musings on philosophy and what have you. Parts one and two are fantastic, and the end is great. DeLillo is at his most (seemingly) personal and (possibly) autobiographical in Part II, which is a full-on flashback to the narrator's childhood. Most of the BS is disposed of, and we get, as mentioned, an uncharacteristically warm, sincere, personal, and emotional DeLillo. This would read as an excellent novella, in fact. The novel is at its worst when the characters are on the road, which is admittedly infrequent. It reads like Harrison's "A Good Day to Die," or a really bad "On the Road," but again this makes up maybe ten percent of the book, despite people calling this a "road novel." Anyway, a pretty good intro to DeLillo, though unfortunately far from flawless. Up front, it seems as if this might be his best novel, though it's not to be. Thankfully he kept at it, though.
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