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Great Jones Street

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  2,443 Ratings  ·  160 Reviews
A troubling satire of the romantic myth of stardom and the empty heart of rock and roll, more relevant than ever in our celebrity-obsessed times.

Bucky Wunderlick is a rock and roll star. Dissatisfied with a life that has brought fame and fortune, he suddenly decides he no longer wants to be a commodity. He leaves his band mid-tour and holes up in a dingy, unfurnished apart
Paperback, 250 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Picador USA (first published 1973)
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Glenn Russell
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Great Jones Street – Don DeLillo’s novel published as part of the 1980s Vintage Contemporaries series where a young rock-and-roll artist seals himself off in a Lower Manhattan down-and-out apartment. Well, there’s the occasional visit from his girlfriend and members of his rock group and hawkers connected with a Happy Valley Commune yammering about a future miracle drug, enough visits to keep his sharp edge very sharp and enough visits to possibly drive a crazy boy crazy.

And here's our man, the
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a weird novel, but I kept feeling like this was an older relative of Cosmopolis, and happens in New York like that book, only a couple decades earlier (circa 1971-73, from winter to very early spring). This is DeLillo's third novel, and should, in my opinion, be approached like a movie that flows and doesn't go too strictly from A to B. I mean, some things are left open-ended a bit and the way people talk may read oddly. I did find myself loving the book from around midpoint on.

It tells
Nov 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Ian "Marvin" Graye
"Fame Puts You There Where Things Are Hollow" (1)

This is often regarded as one of DeLillo's lesser novels. However, I can't agree. It continues and anticipates the subject matter for which he has become famous as well as his clipped and precise writing style.

If you're uncertain whether this book might be for you, I urge you to read at least the first chapter (three pages), if not also the last two chapters. The first chapter in particular contains some of the best and most exhilarating writing i
Mar 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
"Americans persue loneliness in various ways. For me Great Jones Street was a time of prayerful fatigue. I became a half-saint, practiced in visions, informed by a sense of bodily economy, but deficient in true pain."
- Don DeLillo, Great Jones Street


A good DeLillo, just not a great one. I read this on a flight from SF to Phoenix. While there were parts of it that I loved (again and again DeLillo can throw out a sentence that seems almost electric; a prose version of a perpetual motion machine),
João Carlos
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: l2015, dondelillo

Great Jones Street - Manhattan - Nova Iorque

Publicado em 1973 “Great Jones Street” é o terceiro romance do escritor norte-americano Don DeLillo (n. 1936).
Bucky Wunderlick, o narrador, é uma estrela do rock, que abandona o seu grupo musical no meio de uma tournée, num conflito existencial, insatisfeito com a sua vida, com a sua fama e que se refugia, incognitamente, num apartamento, sem mobília, em Great Jones Street, uma rua situada em Manhattan, Nova Iorque.
Bucky quer “desaparecer” - “Sou ape
Vit Babenco
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“What started it was abstract thought. When man started thinking abstractly he advanced from killing for food to killing for words and ideas”
The borderline between the sixties and the seventies of the last century was the time of freaks so Great Jones Street is a freaky postmodern mystery.
“All she desired was the brute electricity of that sound. To make the men who made it. To keep moving. To forget everything. To be the sound. That was the only tide she heeded. She wanted to exist as music does
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Set in the early seventies, a famous rock star abdicates and retreats to the dereliction and sanctuary of the titular Great Jones Street,NY..The themes and ideas are interesting,fame,privacy,freedom,the media etc.The characterisation is poor and the plot descends into the absurd.However the descriptive writing particularly in the opening chapters is excellent.I had higher expectations from a major writer.Two stars,maybe two and a half.
Sentimental Surrealist
The book that made me understand just what's so disconcerting about DeLillo. See, the guy writes weird shit, but a lot of writers write weird shit that don't give me the same prickly feeling the best DeLillo does. No, what makes DeLillo such an odd writer is the combination of the weird shit he writes about and his chilly, almost journalistic tone, and this novel combines the both of them to the fullest effect out of what I've read so far. This particular volume ties reclusive rock stars, drugs, ...more
Nate D
Oct 25, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-bought
This is my second Don DeLillo novel. The first one I read and liked a lot is "Libra." DeLillo had the right tone to the whole Lee Oswald story - and more likely the truth. There is something very journalistic about the writing of that book - almost a documentary. I almost feel the same way with "Great Jones Street." He captures a certain aspect of New York that I find truthful - and the narrative of a legendary rock figure who decided to disappear in the middle of a major tour is interesting. Li ...more
Mar 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
". . . 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
Jun 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-15
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
Lucas Dispoto
I think Delilo's writing is beautiful, but I have to say I've disliked his books more often than not. "Great Jones Street" felt pretentious in its ramblings, its attempts to be a commentary on celebrity worship and drugs and love etc. It's perhaps because I'm reading Delilo with the wrong attitude or the wrong expectations. "Libra" was a fairly straightforward story, grounded in realism and history, yet by shaping the real world and real characters with his prose, Delilo managed a wonderful nove ...more
DeLillo paints a dour picture of our rock star Anti Hero, Bucky Wonderlick. He is sensitive, but also needy. Needy of the attention he is destined, in his mind, to receive as a rock star. The plot was ok, but the resolution didn't feel quite right. I would have loved more details about Bucky's music and career, but that was not in the cards. Plus, Bucky Wonderlick is a stupid name, lol.
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
It feels like DeLillo writes his novels especially--maybe even ONLY--for me.

I was floored by this book.

No idea how anybody else will feel about it.
Perry Whitford
The superbly named Bucky Wunderlick is a rock star turned recluse, walking out on his band at the height of their fame, holing up and tuning out in a dilapidated flat on Great Jones Street, New York.

Wild rumours of his whereabouts soon start to circulate as Bucky seeks retreat behind his own myth: 'I became a half-saint, practiced in visions, informed by a sense of bodily economy, but deficient in true pain.'

Bucky is a hybrid of Bob Dylan and Iggy Pop - he even has a legendary set of low-fi rec
Matteo Fumagalli
Rock e vuoto.

Un romanzo strano, dal cuore profondamente dondelilliano, che parla di creatività, linguaggio, stasi e alienazione. Sospeso, ma allo stesso tempo rumorosissimo.
Tra quelli che ho letto, il suo più pesante e faticoso (me lo sono trascinato per almeno un mese), ma che viaggia sempre a livelli altissimi e che, terminata la lettura, lascia annichiliti.
Il finale, fortemente evocativo, non so perché, mi ha ricordato il cinema di Antonioni.
Byron  'Giggsy' Paul
Feb 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of post-modern fiction and DeLillo
briefly, I found this to have interesting post-modern dialogue, typical of both the post-modern genre and of my other DeLillo reads.
Review coming soon
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
Sep 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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 "
Óscar Brox
Dec 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
jacob hurley
tragically, nobel-worthy
Jul 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
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 and classical." An outsider's perspective can be good, but it's not hard to imagine an endeavor like this falling into perfunctory dismissal.

Of course, we're talking 1972 here. This isn't "Good Golly Miss Molly" anymore. It's not even "All You Ne
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
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this novel about 20 years ago. I re-read it this week out of curiosity about what it might have meant to me back then. I remembered little of it, except that the protagonist, AWOL rock n roll god Bucky Wunderlick, lived a hermetic life in an inner city apartment; I was living a comparably quiet life at the time, in my first solo apartment after years of rooming in shared houses.

Re-reading the book, I was surprised by the impact of the first page, whose language and imagery were so
Jul 14, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 about Don DeLillo...
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