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Posted August 26, 2005
Ratner's Star is among DeLillo's earliest novels to achieve the status of a true masterpiece. However, it is not among his more accessible works, and I do not recommend it as an entry into his canon. It is a highly conceptual novel with very little plot to speak of, and only minimal character development, which in this case is not a flaw but rather the basis of the novel's strength. DeLillo crafts a maddening trek through the universes of mathematical and linguistic thought that is, at times, as disorienting as Kafka's The Castle, but does cohere, in stages, to a satisfying conclusion. Structured into two distinct sections along the lines of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Ratner's Star extends and updates the academic and scientific satire of the Laputa episodes in Swift's Gulliver's Travels. While superficially a parody of the insularities and incompatibilities of specific schools of scholarly discourse, the novel builds in the second book to a complete disintegration of logic, language, and concept. Along the way, Delillo packs in dozens of episodes rich enough to spawn conceptual novels on their own.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.