Americanaby Don DeLillo
At twenty-eight, David Bell is the American dream come true. He has fought his way to the top, surviving office purges and scandals to become a top television executive. David's world is made up of the images that flicker across America's screens, the fantasies that enthrall America's imagination. And then the dream--and the dream-making--become a nightmare. At the height of his success, David sets out to rediscover reality.
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Meet the Author
The author of thirteen novels, five plays, and numerous short stories, Don DeLillo was born in 1936. Americana (1971), his first novel, announced the arrival of a major literary talent, and the novels that followed confirmed his reputation as one of the most distinctive and compelling voices in late-twentieth-century American fiction. DeLillo's comic gifts come to the fore in White Noise (1985), which won the National Book Award, and Underworld (1997), with its vivid portraits of actor Jackie Gleason and standup comedian Lenny Bruce.
- Westchester County, New York
- Date of Birth:
- November 20, 1936
- Place of Birth:
- New York City
- Fordham University, 1958
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This review gives no spoilers; instead, it is meant to convince the reader why I used the above headline about this writer. I was browsing through the bookstore a few months ago, read the back cover of "The Names," used the five minute test (where I read the first few pages of a book to see if I have lost track of time for at least five minutes), and I was hooked. Reading "Americana" followed a few days later. The most remarkable aspect of Don DeLillo's writing is, well, his writing - the way it sneaks up on the subconscious and replays events and phrases from the last chapter if a reader is unfortunate enough to have to put DeLillo's writing down. The characters, plot, and thematic elements are good in themselves, but not so much as the style in which they are rendered. Although that may sound odd, I don't know any other way to explain the experience. DeLillo is a true reader's writer by being easily accessible yet presenting complex character relationships. I enjoy other writers because they tell such good yarns and do so skillfully: Chuck Palahniuk and Dan Simmons, to name two. I keep going to see where those two will take me. With DeLillo, however, I keep reading for the simple pleasure of being in the mind of a master wordsmith. I enjoyed the imagery and eerie quality in "The Names" a bit more than in "Americana": maybe because of the exotic background of "The Names" in southern Europe and the Middle East. "Americana" has more familiar settings for US readers; re-examining those places with DeLillo as tour guide provides fresh commentary on what we often think of as whitebread. If you're tired of reading other disappointing writers who have somehow earned starred reviews, give one of DeLillo's books the "five-minute test," and see why he is the only US writer (so far) to win the Jerusalem Prize.
This is where it all began. The first sentence says it all. Read the DeLillo canon (well, OK to skip The Body Artist), then fast forward to Joshua Ferris.