Customer Reviews for

Cosmopolis

Average Rating 3.5
( 35 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

a challenge and a pleasure

There are a lot of people who say that DeLillo doesn't create characters, but rather automatons that spit out obscure theses. These are the same people that think that Platonic dialogues are about what Plato thought rather than what Athens was. DeLillo's characters ar...
There are a lot of people who say that DeLillo doesn't create characters, but rather automatons that spit out obscure theses. These are the same people that think that Platonic dialogues are about what Plato thought rather than what Athens was. DeLillo's characters are not mouthpieces, and the ideas these characters voice are indications of the ordering -- or disordering -- of their souls. In short, DeLillo is probing the emotional life of ideas. Eric Packer, the protagonist, is the epitome of the class of get-rich-quick internet tycoons that came about in the 90s. What marks him as a member of this class is his faith in the power of information technology to predict the future and thus make the future bend to the will of the present. His lusts and manias are a diagnosis of a certain overreaching mindset from which we have not entirely freed ourselves. However, what distinguishes Eric from his class is that his faith in information technology amounts to being a real religious devotion. Eric is a continuation of DeLillo's investigation into modern manifestations of the desire for religious trascendence. To paraphrase DeLillo, when the old God leaves the world, what happens to all the left-over faith? Eric clings to computer screens the way people once clung to holy texts. In his delusion, he experiences information as a communion with reality as such: reading a computer screen, he thinks, 'Here was the heave of the biosphere. Our bodies and oceans were here, knowable and whole.' But he is also a sort of Oedipus. He does not know who he is. His turn towards technology is a way of escaping something in himself, a past that haunts him. In the end, the book is a story about a man losing his faith and rediscovering, for better and for worse, all the things from which his faith was an escape. To be sure, this novel is not for everyone. For one thing, DeLillo never really decides whether he wants his fiction to be placed in a realistic or theoretical landscape -- is this our world or some imagined, symbolic world? Perhaps in 50 years we will thank him for refusing to make such a distinction, but for now, the book strains one's ability and willingness to become attuned to it. At the same time, he is moving away from the Joycean lushness of his earlier style towards a Beckettian starkness that many readers will find taxing. Nevertheless, the book is special for refusing to be what a book is supposed to be. Like the later experimental work of John Coltrane, this book is at once exhausting and invigorating.

posted by Anonymous on April 14, 2003

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Challenging

This was my first experience with DeLillo. And it wasn't easy. This makes the reader work. It takes place in one day of a 28 year old financial whiz. Very nihilistic. I'll have to read it again. It was fascinating.

posted by lstreet3 on January 15, 2011

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  • Posted March 23, 2011

    Great book

    Very good book. i couldn't put it down. unlike anything I've ever read before. Not an easy read, but it was truly fascinating.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2008

    A Thought Provoking Read

    Well written and thought provoking, Delillo brought this book to life. A most enjoyable work with an interwoven commentary on greed and money throughout the world.

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    Posted October 1, 2009

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    Posted September 30, 2013

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    Posted April 29, 2009

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    Posted May 1, 2011

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    Posted July 30, 2011

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