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Cosmopolis

3.22  ·  Rating details ·  14,591 ratings  ·  1,331 reviews
It is a stunningly eventful day in the life of Eric Packer, a multi-billionaire who has recently married the heiress of a vast European fortune. A violent protest is being staged by anti-globalist groups and Eric fears that he may be a target. He is very much the target, but not by the protestors.
Paperback, 209 pages
Published 2003 by Picador
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Average rating 3.22  · 
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 ·  14,591 ratings  ·  1,331 reviews


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Ian "Marvin" Graye
Pre-Film Review

I re-read this novel, before seeing David Cronenberg’s film (see Post 21).

SPOILERS

This review reveals what I think about the fate of the protagonist at the end of the novel.

My views are based on my interpretation of material that starts at page 55 of the 209 page novel.

If this material or my interpretation is incorrect, then the novel leaves you hanging at the end.

As my views on the novel as a whole depend on an interpretation of the protagonist’s fate, please don’t read my review
...more
Andrew Smith
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
I should have known!

I read Falling Man and found it impenetrable at first and only slightly less so when I managed to finish it - at the third attempt. Maybe Cosmopolis is very clever; if it is it's way too clever for me. I did stick with it (it's only a short tale) in the hope all would become clear. It never really did.

The core theme is simple enough - man with everything really has nothing - but I just could't identify with the main character and, worst of all, the words just didn't knit tog
...more
Steven Godin
Sorry but this was for me below par for DeLillo's standards, which I have to say on the whole are remarkably good. Felt like a second rate Bret Easton Ellis, detached, cold and Narcissistic, infused with a surreal and nightmarish tone. The story is set on the corrosive and packed streets of Manhattan gripped by a state of paranoia and tension, and the comfy confinements of a billionaires stretch limo, this is basically one man's odyssey to get a haircut while the world outside his windows seems ...more
Fabian
Sep 23, 2009 rated it liked it
As eerie, weird, morbid, (yet) concise as writers go, Don De Lillo takes the cake. In "White Noise", people go a lil crazy after a chemical spill makes an OCD person's otherwise superdirty world into a superdooperdirty world. There are waves of radiation everywhere, as the world becomes infiltrated by 'lil parasites.

In "Cosmopolis", the Y2K scare is meshed with "American Psycho." Eric is a multimillionaire (billionaire?) who can control the American Stock Market via a gadgeted limo. Far out! But
...more
Jakob J.
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The Problem of Language:
“It was a matter of silences, not words.”

There are those who indict DeLillo on charges of criminal literary laziness, but I would submit that actually, what he possesses is an immense understanding of the limitations inherent in language as a mode of expression, and while perhaps superficially a little ironic, I would also submit that it is a crucial thing on which to have a grasp, as a practitioner of the written word. As evidenced by the overall pithiness, refusal to go
...more
7jane
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Music: Moby - "First Cool Hive"/"Porcelain"

(I didn't get the book when I first attempted to read it. I feel one benefits from seeing the movie of this book first; the book only opened to me after seeing it. If you get the movie, this should also go easier - there's a little more stuff in the book that's not on the film, but that makes the film flow better.)

April 2000. We follow the one-day disintegration of a 28 year old billionaire asset man, Eric Packer, who decides that morning to take a ride
...more
Schuyler
Jan 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is book number eight on my journey to read everything written by Don DeLillo. I have not yet read his more famous works, Libra and White Noise, though I'm kind of saving them because in a way, I know it's probably going to be 'down hill' from there. That is to say, Underworld, Libra, and White Noise are probably his best work. So I'm jumping around them. Well, I did read Underworld, but I will probably end up re-reading that one.

Everyone seems to either hate Cosmopolis or just appreciate i
...more
Eileen
Jan 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, own, read-2011
It's a weird and complicated novel. Absolutely not something I would normally read. It reminds me of the literary books I had to read for my High school graduation exams. So why torture myself and read it?
Well, in May 2011 David Cronenberg will start filming the movie based on this novel that will be released somewhere in 2012. The very talented Robert Pattinson (who I adore) will play the role of Eric Packer, a newly wed financial wizard and billionaire, who drives through town (New York) in h
...more
Ruby
Oct 02, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: y2015, university
"He said, 'My prostrate is assymetrical.'
His voice was barely audible. There was a pause that lasted half a minute. He felt the subject regard him carefully, the other. There was a sense of human involvement.
'So is mine,' Benno whispered."

nahhhhh.
I don't have time for this, ironic or not.
Shovelmonkey1
Nov 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: urban poets and philosophers
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: HMV book sale
This week I have read two Don DeLillo books; this one and White Noise, which thus far I have been too lazy to review. This may be regarded as a strange turn of events as after reading The Body Artist (my first foray into Don’s world), I had already bitterly sworn not to pick up another of his books. Anyway for one reason and another (causality :Don DeLillo books on sale for £2 each in HMV) here we are and I’ve read two more of his books with Underworld sitting, brooding darkly on my to-be-read s ...more
Jen
Feb 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Patrick Bateman, Leopold Bloom
Shelves: 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 mo
...more
Marguerite Kaye
Oct 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm not completely sure what existential angst is, but I am pretty certain this book gave me it. And nightmares. And it made me laugh out loud in places too, and some of the language stopped me in my tracks - mostly in a good way.

This was horribly compelling, utterly terrifying and unfortunately rang an awful lot of bells. In many ways it was picaresque a sort of modern-day Tom Jones journey through Manhatten, or maybe more like Alice Through the Looking Glass (meets Bonfire of the Vanities). W
...more
Rebecca McNutt
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cosmopolis is a really morbid and eerie novel, but I really enjoyed it all the same for the author's talent at capturing some of the common fears of postmodern America.
Trevor
May 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
I really enjoyed this book, enjoyed it in ways that I rarely enjoy novels. It is a couple of years since I read it and so I can only leave you with the impressions of it that have lasted. This is a book about the world that has built up around us and how even those who we might be excused for thinking ‘understand’ that world (we might perhaps even be tempted to claim they have ‘built’ that world) actually are as much acted upon and victims of it as we are.

The best summary I could give of this bo
...more
Pamela W
Mar 15, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Pamela by: Rosenberg, the bastard
Listened to this on audio during the commute and found the reader's voice really grating. Main character? Creepy and hateful, but not in a provocative way. More annoying. I don't generally enjoy reading (or listening) to lengthy soliloquies that are just excuses for phrases/random analogies or waxing on life's headier ponderances. Sounded forced, not ---ophical (insert prefix of choice). I wanted to perpetrate violence by the end of this story time, and I don't mean riotous/life-affirming violen ...more
Suzanne
Apr 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Strangely this novel has received many negative reviews. Most of them compare this book against other Delillo works and feel it falls below his usual standard of excellence in prose. Having only read one, at this point, my view is very different.
The novel is based on a day in the life of its main character, Eric Packer, a 28 year old brilliant Wall Street currency trader who has made billions of dollars anticipating the market trends of worldwide currency. Not unlike Joyce's, "Ulysses" and Woo
...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Ladies and Gentlemen and you multitude of the Landless:

This review would be more properly tagged/shelved "filmed" by myself, but seeing as how I did also read this book and maybe I'll add a second edition for a second review when I bother to reread the book. But...

I finally did see the Cronenberg attempt on DeLillo last night; much delayed, I don't get out to houses of movies often and netfilx recently allowed it to stream, pre-paid, into my clearly not limousine-shaped abode. And, quite true, I
...more
Breinholt Dorrough
Cosmopolis has certainly received an unfair amount of criticism. I mean, you should know going into this book (if you are of the 99% who read the blurbs before reading the books) that nearly all of the action takes place in one limo in a single day - don't expect the story to follow a typical narrative arc. Not only is it not supposed to, but this book wouldn't work that way. It functions mainly on dialogue, and damn what beautiful dialogue it is.

This book is about the details, the why, the symb
...more
R.
May 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
Althought set in April of 2000, the novel Cosmopolis (cosmic...city: the story has a very spaceship glow to it; the gadgetry the narrator describes in Ellisian detail...the rocketship limo, the android guards with names like...like Torval...the voice-activated weaponry) seems more a prophecy of here and now (or, yes, even six months in the future) than a satire of pre-9/11 excesses that, well, kind of got us into the whole 9/11 fix.

Eric Packer speaks in enigmaticisms - beautiful enigmaticisms -
...more
Marianna Reads
Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Somethings are never easy. Like reading a book because it got great reviews but then turn out to be mediocre. That is what happened with Don Delillo's Cosmopolis.

The entire book describes a day in the life or Eric, an 28-year-old billionaire, who is cynic and has his mind on two things; sex and money.

I can understand why it was a big deal when it was published and why it was adapted into a movie but I failed to see the point. We are materialistic and consumed by technology. Our lives evolve arou
...more
W.D. Clarke
Aug 23, 2014 rated it liked it
For me, the slightest of the novels of DeLillo's that I've read (and I am not talking about length), and also the most disappointing, despite the compulsively readable prose. Here's why: One could read Cosmopolis as the logical outcome of what I would call the "economic sublime" that Fredric Jameson begins to outline in his influential Postmodernism: The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, where Capitalism is an inevitable, all-pervading, almost naturalized force that colonizes every corner of th ...more
Stephen M
Jun 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Delillo Fans
Recommended to Stephen M by: David Cronenberg
White Noise was the greatest thing I've ever read, but every Delillo since has been a lukewarm glass of mehmonade.
sologdin
Nutshell: one-percenter gets haircut, an event worthy of 200 pages.

The less looney toons sibling of American Psycho (“the logical extension of business is murder“ (113)), this text, contrary to my intentions, was not necessarily the correct one to brainbleach the Ayn Rands that I’d read immediately prior hereto--though her mantra regarding self-made industrialists, who nevertheless are heirs to massive fortunes, is given mock heroic treatment here as “self made,” “ruthless,” “strong,” “brilliant
...more
Alex Telander
Jan 31, 2011 rated it did not like it
This is my second attempt with Don DeLillo, the first being last year’s The Body Artist, and having read Cosmopolis, I still don’t know what all the fuss is about this guy. Maybe it’s an “East Coaster” thing, for the guy just doesn’t impress me much. He’s the kind of author who attempts to use long words, complex run-on sentence, and go off on long and boring tangents which really have no bearing on the novel, and any real meaning or truth to offer the reader.

Cosmopolis is about a really rich gu
...more
Big Milton
Nov 05, 2007 rated it it was ok
I was hoping by page 24 that the protagonist of this novel would be dragged from his limousine and beaten by children with Tickle Me Elmo dolls loaded with bricks. And then we would never hear from him again. But that ain't what happened. Unfortunately. A terrible novel by a great writer.
Sarah
Apr 19, 2017 rated it liked it
“People think about who they are in the stillest hour of the night. I carry this thought, the child's
mystery and terror of this thought, I feel this immensity in my soul every second of my life.”
Dave-O
Jul 13, 2007 rated it liked it
Dellilo's New York limo ride flows well enough through the first half of the book. The premise allows itself to open an array of bizzare situations: a billionaire twenty-something want to ride in his suped-up stretch limo to get a haircut. On the way he has encounters with lovers, ex-lovers, and advisors in matters of technology, finance, security, and theory. Dellilo's prose is highly restrained with limited, but rich descriptions of neighborhoods that unfold through the eyes of billionaire Eri ...more
Tom
Jun 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
Supposedly, an old grad school teachers once said the following about a classmate's story: "There isn't an ounce of the milk of human kindness anywhere in this."

That pretty much applies here. I almost stopped on page 51 when the main character says, "I want to bottle-fuck you slowly with my sunglasses on," and then the woman climaxes without being touched. But I kept going because i hate giving up on books. Didn't get much better from there. Bad, choppy, inhuman dialogue. Overly preachy, pitiful
...more
Michael Seidlinger
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
What? Huh? Okay?

These are not indications of confusion. I completely absorbed Cosmopolis and experienced every facet of the near-novella.

Given that, I must question the entire purpose of this piece. It certainly provides an ample-enough lens for American excess, disaffection, and dislocation... but I'm not sure it goes anywhere beyond the "image" of this particular portrayal.

I need a haircut too... but unlike the rich, I either cut it myself or drive the 1.2 miles to a Hair Cuttery and make it
...more
Aiden Heavilin
DeLillo's unremitting seriousness sometimes works absolute wonders (His short story "Midnight in Dostoevsky" is pure magic, sections of "Underworld" are goosebump fuel, the spare, confused tone of "Point Omega" stays with me even today), but sometimes it doesn't. This time, it doesn't. This book feels so uneventful and passive that it doesn't even seem to be worth it to talk about why. Hard pass.
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4,119 followers
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

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