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Mao II

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  8,396 Ratings  ·  474 Reviews
"One of the most intelligent, grimly funny voices to comment on life in present-day America" (The New York Times), Don DeLillo presents an extraordinary new novel about words and images, novelists and terrorists, the mass mind and the arch-individualist. At the heart of the book is Bill Gray, a famous reclusive writer who escapes the failed novel he has been working on for ...more
eBook, 256 pages
Published May 1st 1992 by Penguin Books (first published 1991)
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Sanjogsharma I think it's an amalgamation of DeLillo(most of the writerly stuff seems autobiographical) , Rushdie(Fatwa, goes to hiding) and Pynchon(not…moreI think it's an amalgamation of DeLillo(most of the writerly stuff seems autobiographical) , Rushdie(Fatwa, goes to hiding) and Pynchon(not photographed, recluse). (less)
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Paquita Maria Sanchez
Don DeLillo is maybe my favorite novelist I would never recommend to anyone. Obviously, I don't mean he's not worth reading, but in order for his words to fulfill their collective mission in life, you have to read him the right way. Please believe me, I'm not some asshole who's saying you have to read him the way I do in how you interpret him or whether you like what you find, but you have to cast aside that "race for the finish-line" tendency we all have in us, and read uncomfortably close if y ...more
Jr Bacdayan
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The cult of Mao was the cult of the book.”

A writer is always said to bring wisdom and knowledge to his readers, to give them guidance, clarity of mind by using stories and instances regardless of truth as exemplars. But can the writer do the opposite and inspire terror, chaos, and bewilderment? It is often said that a writer sacrifices himself for the better fortune of his readers. Writing should be a beloved practice to those who are enamored by words, by language, and sometimes by the ability
Violet wells
“The future belongs to crowds.”

If you’ve tried DeLillo and didn’t get on with him this probably isn’t going to change your mind. All the familiar DeLillo hallmarks are present and correct – every character speaking in an identical voice, every character as intelligent and eloquent as the author; dramatic tension is hewn into the sentences rather than the plot; and it’s primarily cerebral in its appeal as opposed to emotionally engaging.

There are five players in Mao II. Bill is a famous reclusiv
May 17, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"The secret of me is that I'm only half here...."

Andy Warhol says this & perhaps because I'm a such a nonfan of his I was a super nonfan of this.

The novel infuses you with images and DeLillo attempts to do something wholly Warholesque with his own brand of literature. More discerning minds can tell me what that something is, and/or what specific effect it produces. The novel is also about: the indifference of society personified by crowds, the act of writing as a doppelganger for terrorism,
The Novelist as Substitute Terrorist (Or the other way round?)

I have a great deal of sympathy for DeLillo's protagonist, Bill Gray, alias Willard Skansey Jr. He has my fear of being over the hill. He, like me, talks to relative strangers more intimately than is warranted. I share his doubt that any of my accomplishments have even personal importance. And I really would prefer to spend my remaining days being ignored by the world.

On the other hand, Bill puts me off viscerally. His clipped convers
Michael Finocchiaro
Another of the second tier of DeLillo's books, this one talks of writer's block and of the crazy marriage cult of Kim Jo Pak's Unification cult. Bizarre and full of action, it is well-written and a page-turner. It is however one to read after the masterpiece of Underworld.
K.D. Absolutely
Dec 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2012)
What is the role of fiction writers in world peace? This might as well be the aching question that this book tried to answer. Or offered to answer. That, for me, is what made this book different from other books about novelists as the main protagonist. That, for me, is the reason why I really like this book.

This is my 3rd Don DeLillo and he is still to disappoint. This does not have the in-your-face sadness of his Falling Man (3 days) because it is not about 9/11 but this is not as artsy as the
Mar 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Αλλο ενα απολαυστικο μυθιστορημα του Ντελιλο. Πραγματικα σοκαριστικο το ποσο to the point ειναι οσον αφορα στις εξελιξεις της κοινωνιας μας(γραφτηκε το 1991). Θιγει λιγο πολυ ολα τα θεματα που εμφανιζονται σε ολα τα μυθιστορηματα του συγγραφεα που εχω διαβασει, με κυριοτερο την τρομολαγνια που επικρατει και την ελειψη κριτικης σκεψης απο τον καθημερινο ανθρωπο .τα πληθη χειραγωγουνται πια απο ψευδο-ηγετες που τους καθοριζουν τη ζωη με οπλο τον τρομο, ενω τα "μεγαλα μυαλα" της κοινωνιας που δινου ...more
Jul 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with Underworld, the opening prologue—based upon an actual occurrence—of the mass-wedding of young and youngish couples of the Unification Church, held in Yankee Stadium and performed by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, is one of the strongest points of the book. DeLillo excels at such portraits set to the page, crisply and potently capturing the atmosphere of this bizarre and fascinating spectacle, with its ordered ranks of veils and ties, the regimented structure and candle-row colors that deli ...more
Aug 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, fiction
This is a Typical DeLillo - which is by no means bad. On the contrary.

First, I'd like to say that DeLillo's writing style is as ornate and expressive as ever.

This is more of a rambling discussion, a loose connection of thoughts on crowds, mass movements, the Unification Church, writers, New York, baseball, terrorism, and post-modernism. Sometimes DeLillo goes for multi-page conversations, and sometimes for little aphorisms which you can repeat to impress your friends and sound wise.

Again, the us
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sotto gli occhi di tutti

“Da qualche tempo ormai ho l'impressione che i romanzieri e i terroristi stiano giocando una partita che si conclude zero a zero. Quello che guadagnano i terroristi, lo perdono i romanzieri. Il potere dei terroristi di influenzare la coscienza di massa è la misura del nostro declino in quanto forgiatori della sensibilità e del pensiero. Il pericolo che essi rappresentano è pari alla nostra incapacità di essere pericolosi. […] Beckett è l'ultimo scrittore che abbia forgiat
I could feel DeLillo grappling with something important as I read this book, trying to deliver something profound, and that feeling made me want to press on, to see where he was going, even though I found most of his narrative a slog.

There were astounding moments. The funeral of Ayatollah Khomeini was gorgeous prose. The discussion between Bill and George about the power of the terrorist to affect change was tense and convincing. Karen's time in the homeless shantytown was poetic and always shif
Sentimental Surrealist
Mao II centers around two events: the emergence of a reclusive author in New York and a hostage crisis in Lebanon. That both events are treated with the glibness and breakneck pace of news cycles isn't, in and of itself, reason to praise this novel, even if you consider that DeLillo does so as a commentary. What makes Mao II great, then, is that he goes all the way with commentary on the media, inviting the reader into the world of the twenty-four hour news rush, making you eagerly await every n ...more
Jul 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anybody
Shelves: literature
This is the only book I've ever read that I wanted to start reading again immediately after finishing it. I have read his description of two people watching the funeral of the Ayatollah Khomeini a dozen times. I wish I could have written that. The description of the mass wedding at the start of the book is also remarkable.
I can't deny that Don DeLillo has great way with words but the lack of traditional storytelling prevented me from enjoying this novel.
DeLillo has always been good at capturing the way people actually talk -- syntax, cadence, etc.-- but his characters don't usually say things normal people say. They are always totally self-aware and generally pretty intelligent. They understand the psycho-socio-philosophical implications of lighting a cigarette; they get the significance of a half-second pause in a conversation. They can read each others' minds, finish each others' sentences. And this can be distracting, can take you right out ...more
Hugo Emanuel
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Uma interessante reflexão sobre o papel e influência cultural que a palavra escrita teve durante a história, e a forma como esta se alterou na sociedade actual. DeLillo parece sugerir que a importância da palavra escrita e a sua capacidade de alterar o panorama moral e cultural da sociedade foi sendo gradualmente suplantada pela imagem e o terror. No entanto, evidencia que toda e qualquer ideia antes de tomar forma é, habitualmente, primeiro anotada em forma escrita e que, consequentemente, tem ...more
Lara Messersmith-Glavin
I feel very safe when I read Delillo. I know I am going somewhere worthwhile, and I know that I can trust him to get me there smoothly and gently, that the time will pass and the journey and destination and details will all be taken care of. This novel is, by turns, deeply real and entirely metaphysical, an eloquent portrait of a small collection of individuals and individual drives and pains, and an entirely artificial means for Delillo to explore principles of art and meaning-making within the ...more
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even better upon a second reading, DeLillo books are ones that need demand two readings you read and see things with such vivid clearity, a wedding party escorted by a Russian Tank.

Hey America deal makers or diplomats, " Don't bring your problems to Beirut" or Syria,

The novel can't compete with the war and death on the 24-hour news networks shown without remorse, we relay on the carnage seen on CNN so we feel lucking about drinking our Coke-a-Cola with out bombs falling on our heads feel less
I am a fan of Don DeLillo's artistic ambition and his want to address ideas more profound than simple character study. When Tom Wolfe wrote his diatribe against MFA writing programs and accused them of passing along a tradition of meaningless, nonempathetic stories rather than work that addresses morality and social meaning, he undermined his own argument with his own bare-faced self-promotion of _The Bonfire of the Vanities_, a work that may in essence have fit his own ideal but was poorly stru ...more
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-books-read
This novel is just about ideal for me as its themes combine photography (and the power of the image) with writing (and the role of the novelist). About 90% of my time is spent either taking photographs or reading.

The title of the book is derived from Andy Warhol's famous portrait of Mao Zedong, but the power of the image, especially of a portrait, is a dominant part of the story and it isn’t just Mao II that is discussed. Alongside images and novelists, the book also explores terrorism and crowd
The hardest thing about reading a Don Delillo novel is everything is quotable, every sentence he writes is a sentence only Don Delillo could've written, anyway you look at it. This is a short book, shouldn't take one more than a few days, but it's such a rich, deeply profound book that needs to be read slowly, with much concentration lest you miss out on all the cool stuff. Some of it isn't accessible, not right away, but when you mull over it, you do see it make sense. See it define your life s ...more
A mess. Opens with the reactionary premise that “the future belongs to crowds” (16) and descends from there. Something about a reclusive writer and another writer kidnapped by Lebanese Maoists. I suspect there is a concordance here between the artist who wishes to remain out of the public spotlight and the artist who is forcibly hidden. Dunno. The whole thing is kinda gross.

My copy is a first edition, which has a Pynchon blurb on the back--no surprise he likes it, considering P’s own alleged rec
Sep 09, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The premise: terrorists have taken the place of writers (specifically novelists) as shapers of the public consciousness. Timely subject, nearly fifteen years later. But it takes great skill to make a subject like this dull as dish water. But Delillo, unfortunately, succeeded in doing just this.

We have Bill, a reclusive novelist who has, after decades, allowed himself to be photographed. We have Brita, the photographer, who in my estimation should have been the focal point of the entire novel. A
This novel is about images. It depicts images from different perspectives. The image that the author has of himself, the world, and terrorism. The images a photograph takes of the author, of war, and of children playing in a schoolyard. This novel is about the image an insecure person has of themselves, and the image a lost soul forms of the world around them. This novel divulges the truth through images, and the fear reflected in so many ways.
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is easily one of my favourite from DeLillo’s oeuvre, the prose is on point, the ideas are thick and fast and genuinely interesting and DeLillo doesn’t drag it out too long. I’ve always felt he works best in the somewhat shorter form, the 150-400 page range, something like Underworld just didn’t work for me, there were a few sections I enjoyed but the book suffered from an undercooked and soggy middle, but in Mao II Don’s prose never wavers and he gets out just in time before the whole ...more
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sobre el terrorismo en la era postmoderna. De los mejores del autor.
Sep 22, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I once read an interview with DeLillo, where he claimed that he often liked to change or rearrange words in his sentences for the sound or effect it created, even if it ended up changing the meaning of the sentence entirely. For me, this just smacks of irresponsibility for someone held in such high literary esteem, and demonstrates his overriding pretentiousness as a novelist.

The characters in this novel speak without any realism, seeming to communicate only in profound aphorisms to pound home t
Emily Bell
What I Liked
The writing in Mao II is powerful, stunning, and lovely. Each sentence is structured with care and perfection. Descriptions of mass events and roaring crowds are immersing. I don't know if I've ever rated something so low that was written so well, but I could never get into this book. I did not enjoy this read. And I will not come away a changed person from reading it. The profound message that DeLillo labored to pound into the reader didn't wash over me.

What I Didn't Like
I hated the
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I was really into this book until about halfway through where the storytelling seemed to fall apart. I'm still not sure what happened to Bill, actually. I loved so much of the first half though, the characters, their histories, their insights, that I might just decide to pretend not to have read the last 100 pages.
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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
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“The future belongs to crowds.” 260 likes
“He wanted to fuck her loudly on a hard bed with rain beating on the windows.” 124 likes
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