Goodreads helps you follow your favorite authors. Be the first to learn about new releases!
Start by following Don DeLillo.

Don DeLillo Don DeLillo > Quotes


Don DeLillo quotes Showing 61-90 of 957

“Some people are larger than life. Hitler is larger than death.”
Don DeLillo, White Noise
“Money has lost its narrative quality the way painting did once upon a time. Money is talking to itself.”
Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis
“The instant he knew he loved her, she slipped down his body and out of his arms.”
Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis
“Only a catastrophe gets our attention. We want them, we depend on them. As long as they happen somewhere else. This is where California comes in. Mud slides, brush fires, coastal erosion, mass killings, et cetera. We can relax and enjoy these disasters because in our hearts we feel that California deserves whatever it gets. Californians invented the concept of life-style. This alone warrants their doom.”
Don DeLillo, White Noise
“I am ashamed every day, and more ashamed the next.
But I will spend the rest of my life in this living space writing
these notes, this journal, recording my acts and reflections,
finding some honor, some worth at the bottom of things.
I want ten thousand pages that will stop the world.”
Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis
“The novel’s not dead, it’s not even seriously injured, but I do think we’re working in the margins, working in the shadows of the novel’s greatness and influence. There’s plenty of impressive talent around, and there’s strong evidence that younger writers are moving into history, finding broader themes. But when we talk about the novel we have to consider the culture in which it operates. Everything in the culture argues against the novel, particularly the novel that tries to be equal to the complexities and excesses of the culture. This is why books such as JR and Harlot’s Ghost and Gravity’s Rainbow and The Public Burning are important—to name just four. They offer many pleasures without making concessions to the middle-range reader, and they absorb and incorporate the culture instead of catering to it. And there’s the work of Robert Stone and Joan Didion, who are both writers of conscience and painstaking workers of the sentence and paragraph. I don’t want to list names because lists are a form of cultural hysteria, but I have to mention Blood Meridian for its beauty and its honor. These books and writers show us that the novel is still spacious enough and brave enough to encompass enormous areas of experience. We have a rich literature. But sometimes it’s a literature too ready to be neutralized, to be incorporated into the ambient noise. This is why we need the writer in opposition, the novelist who writes against power, who writes against the corporation or the state or the whole apparatus of assimilation. We’re all one beat away from becoming elevator music.”
Don DeLillo
“it's not the sex you think i've had. it's the sex i want. that's what you smell on me. because the more i look at you, the more i know about us both.and the more i want to have sex with you. because there's a certain kind of sex that has an element of cleansing. it's the antidote to disillusion. the counterpoison."_Eric Packer”
Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis
“Who knows what I want to do? Who knows what anyone wants to do? How can you be sure about something like that? Isn't it all a question of brain chemistry, signals going back and forth, electrical energy in the cortex? How do you know whether something is really what you want to do or just some kind of nerve impulse in the brain? Some minor little activity takes place somewhere in this unimportant place in one of the brain hemispheres and suddenly I want to go to Montana or I don't want to go to Montana. How do I know I really want to go and it isn't just some neurons firing or something? Maybe it's just an accidental flash in the medulla and suddenly there I am in Montana and I find out I really didn't want to go there in the first place. I can't control what happens in my brain, so how can I be sure what I want to do ten seconds from now, much less Montana next summer? It's all this activity in the brain and you don't know what's you as a person and what's some neuron that just happens to fire or just happens to misfire.”
Don DeLillo, White Noise
“I feel sad for people and the queer part we play in our own distasters.”
Don DeLillo, White Noise
“Some nights I need to be held. Tonight I'm a listener. So nice to lie in rumpled sheets and listen. Cover me with words.”
Don DeLillo, Libra
“That which we fear to touch is often the very fabric of our salvation. ”
Don DeLillo, Libra
“Eye contact was a delicate matter. A quarter second of a shared glance was a violation of agreements that made the city operational.”
Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis
tags: city
“Years after I'd seen him for the last time I found myself thinking of him unexpectedly and often. You know how certain places grow powerful in the mind with passing time. In those early morning dreams when I come back to bed after a sleepy pee and fall quickly into the narrow end of the night, there is one set of streets I keep returning to, one dim mist of railroad rooms and certain figures reappear, borderline ghosts.”
Don DeLillo, Underworld
“There's always more to it. This is what history consists of. It is the sum total of the things they aren't telling us.”
Don DeLillo, Libra
“sex finds us. sex sees through us. that's why it's so shattering. it strips us of appearances."_Eric Packer”
Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis
“Within sixty-minute limits or one-hundred-yard limits or the limits of a game board, we can look for perfect moments or perfect structures. In my fiction I think this search sometimes turns out to be a cruel delusion.

No optimism, no pessimism. No homesickness for lost values or for the way fiction used to be written.

Everybody seems to know everything. Subjects surface and are totally exhausted in a matter of days or weeks, totally played out by the publishing industry and the broadcast industry. Nothing is too arcane to escape the treatment, the process. Making things difficult for the reader is less an attack on the reader than it is on the age and its facile knowledge-market.

The writer is the person who stands outside society, independent of affiliation and independent of influence. The writer is the man or woman who automatically takes a stance against his or her government. There are so many temptations for American writers to become part of the system and part of the structure that now, more than ever, we have to resist. American writers ought to stand and live in the margins, and be more dangerous. Writers in repressive societies are considered dangerous. That’s why so many of them are in jail.

Some people prefer to believe in conspiracy because they are made anxious by random acts. Believing in conspiracy is almost comforting because, in a sense, a conspiracy is a story we tell each other to ward off the dread of chaotic and random acts. Conspiracy offers coherence.

I see contemporary violence as a kind of sardonic response to the promise of consumer fulfillment in America... I see this desperation against the backdrop of brightly colored packages and products and consumer happiness and every promise that American life makes day by day and minute by minute everywhere we go.

Discarded pages mark the physical dimensions of a writer’s labor.

Film allows us to examine ourselves in ways earlier societies could not—examine ourselves, imitate ourselves, extend ourselves, reshape our reality. It permeates our lives, this double vision, and also detaches us, turns some of us into actors doing walk-throughs.

Every new novel stretches the term of the contract—let me live long enough to do one more book.

You become a serious novelist by living long enough.”
Don DeLillo
“Why shouldn't the death of a person you love bring you into lurid ruin? You don't know how to love the one you love until they disappear abruptly. Then you understand how thinly distanced from their suffering, how sparing of self you often were, only rarely unguarded of heart, working your networks of give-and-take.”
Don DeLillo, The Body Artist
“I've come to think of Europe as a hardcover book, America as the paperback version.”
Don DeLillo, The Names
“When I work, I'm just translating the world around me in what seems to be straightforward terms. For my readers, this is sometimes a vision that's not familiar. But I'm not trying to manipulate reality. This is just what I see and hear.”
Don DeLillo
“Stories have no point if they don't absorb our terror.”
Don DeLillo, Mao II
“TO BE A TOURIST is to escape accountability. Errors and failings don't cling to you the way they do back home. You're able to drift across continents and languages, suspending the operation of sound thought. Tourism is the march of stupidity. You're expected to be stupid. The entire mechanism of the host country is geared to travelers acting stupidly. You walked around dazed, squinting into fold-out maps. You don't know how to talk to people, how to get anywhere, what the money means, what time it is, what to eat or how to eat it. Being stupid is the pattern, the level and the norm. You can exist on this level for weeks and months without reprimand or dire consequence. Together with thousands, you are granted immunities and broad freedoms. You are an army of fools, wearing bright polyesters, riding camels, taking pictures of each other, haggard, dysentric, thirsty. There is nothing to think about but the next shapeless event.”
Don DeLillo, The Names
“Time seems to pass. The world happens, unrolling into moments, and you stop to glance at a spider pressed to its web. There is a quickness of light and a sense of things outlined precisely and streaks of running luster on the bay. You know more surely who you are on a strong bright day after a storm when the smallest falling leaf is stabbed with self-awareness. The wind makes a sound in the pines and the world comes into being, irreversibly, and the spider rides the wind-swayed web.”
Don DeLillo, The Body Artist
“I don't want to do the type of writing where I recite biography, parentage and education. I want to rise up from the words on the page and do something, hurt someone.”
Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis
“I used to think it was possible for an artist to alter the inner life of the culture. Now bomb-makers and gunmen have taken that territory.”
Don DeLillo, Mao II
“We need time to lose interest in things.”
Don DeLillo, Point Omega
“The smoke alarm went off in the hallway upstairs, either to let us know the battery had just died or because the house was on fire.”
Don DeLillo, White Noise
“It was only after two years' work that it occurred to me that I was a writer. I had no particular expectation that the novel would ever be published, because it was sort of a mess. It was only when I found myself writing things I didn't realise I knew that I said, 'I'm a writer now.' The novel had become an incentive to deeper thinking. That's really what writing is—an intense form of thought.”
Don DeLillo
“Too much has been forgotten in the name of memory. ”
Don DeLillo, Americana
“He took pains to avoid self-depreciation, self-mockery, ambiguity, irony, subtlety, vulnerability, a civilized world-weariness and a tragic sense of history--the very things, he says, that are most natural to him.”
Don DeLillo
“The cheesecake was smooth and lush, with the personality of a warm and well-to-do uncle who knows a hundred dirty jokes and will die of sexual exertions in the arms of his mistress.”
Don DeLillo, Underworld


All Quotes | Add A Quote


White Noise White Noise
83,111 ratings
Open Preview
Underworld Underworld
25,720 ratings
Libra Libra
13,501 ratings
Open Preview
Cosmopolis Cosmopolis
14,333 ratings
Open Preview