Cosmopolis

Cosmopolis

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Overview

Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo, C. J. Critt

It is an April day in the year 2000 and an era is about to end -- those booming times of market optimism when the culture boiled with money and corporations seemed more vital and influential than governments.

Eric Packer, a billionaire asset manager at age twenty-eight, emerges from his penthouse triplex and settles into his lavishly customized white stretch limousine. On this day he is a man with two missions: to pursue a cataclysmic bet against the yen and to get a haircut across town.

His journey to the barbershop is a contemporary odyssey, funny and fast-moving. Stalled in traffic by a presidential motorcade, a music idol's funeral and a violent political demonstration, Eric receives a string of visitors -- his experts on security, technology, currency, finance and theory. Sometimes he leaves the car for sexual encounters and sometimes he doesn't have to.

Cosmopolis, Don DeLillo's thirteenth novel, is both intimate and global, a vivid and moving account of a spectacular downfall.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402567667
Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date: 02/25/2004
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Don DeLillo is the author of fifteen novels, including Zero K, Underworld, Falling Man, White Noise, and Libra. He has won the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the Jerusalem Prize for his complete body of work, and the William Dean Howells Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2010, he was awarded the PEN/Saul Bellow Prize. His story collection The Angel Esmeralda was a finalist for the 2011 Story Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

Hometown:

Westchester County, New York

Date of Birth:

November 20, 1936

Place of Birth:

New York City

Education:

Fordham University, 1958

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Cosmopolis 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
lstreet3 More than 1 year ago
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.
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Shannon Artigiani More than 1 year ago
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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