4.3.10

UK Reviews of DeLillo's Point Omega

Recent critical reactions

The publisher PanMacMillan is promoting Don DeLillo's new novel, Point Omega, with a selection of reviews by the British press.

‘Of all DeLillo's post-Underworld novels, Point Omega is the most interesting . . . One hundred and twenty-eight pages of theatrical, uncanny prose and its over.’
Sunday Times Culture Section

‘The biggest news in literature this month is the arrival of a new novel from our favourite living American Don. Point Omega promises the usual furore of a literary event of massive global magnitude brilliant, slightly baffling (in a good way!) novel that's oddly sparse and airy but breathtakingly weighty at the same time. The really great bits of Point Omega read like the proclamations of an almost mystical being.’
Dazed and Confused


‘DeLillo is always great on the subject of film (the digressions on cinema are among the best passages in The Names, as are the reflections on the Zapruder footage in Underworld). His prose, with its stylised dialogue and minute attentiveness to effects of light, often seems to aspire to the condition of cinema, with the coolly jazzed cadences providing the score. These short sections of Point Omega, where the watcher meticulously observes his own and other people's reactions to the abstracted violence on the screen, are as sharp in their own right as you would expect. But they also – such is the appealing simplicity of the book's structure . . . the handling is subtle and deft, and it works powerfully . . . The mystery itself is left hanging, but certain hints in the text, along with an elegant manipulation of the time-frame, permit a satisfying, even touching ending (though not a comforting one). It requires careful reading, but as with the man in the gallery, and as with every other aspect of this finely austere novel, the harder you look, the more you see.’
James Lasdun, The Guardian

‘The patient reader will uncover a devastating vein of disquiet running beneath its tomb-cool surface. As in his recent novel Falling Man, which dealt with the attacks of 9/11, DeLillo chooses to take an oblique approach to a topic that might be blinding if viewed straight on. Like a hidden picture in a bland canvas, Elster’s desolation is difficult to make out at first. Once lodged in the mid, however, it is impossible to forget.’
Stephen Amidon Sunday Times

‘The brilliance of the book lies in DeLillo never once announcing that we are in Grand Theme territory. On the contrary, this unapologetic novel of ideas has its own stealthy logic . . Written in a style that is frugal, frequently staccato, yet also displaying great flashes of spare beauty, DeLillo’s strange, haunting tale can be read as an extended meditation on the way we use the theoretical concepts and conceits as a bulwark against the sheer unknowingness of other people, let alone ourselves. . . . this being a DeLillo novel, there are no answers to the vast metaphysical dilemmas of temporal existence. There are only the sort of densely posited questions that take you to all sorts of challenging places where you have forgotten that fiction can actually take you.’
Douglas Kennedy The Times


‘No other contemporary American novelist writes as acutely as DeLillo about power and its corollary, violence . . . the high concepts about politics and art are seeded inot the story sinuously and the painterly rendering of the desert setting, with its ‘blinding tides of light and sky’, imparts a wonderfully eerie atmosphere. The tone registers American relative decline, but DeLillo’s powers show no sign of fading.’
Ludovic Hunter-Tilney Financial Times

‘another formidable construction by a very distinctive writer’
Evening Standard

‘This is an important, post-terrorism novel not just for DeLillo, but for US fiction. It comes at a time when most of the post-second World War giants are dead: Gaddis, Bellow and Updike the artists; Mailer the chronicler; Heller and Vonnegut the comedians with a message; Burroughs the pulse. Most would agree that Richard Ford articulated the US’s Bush nightmare in The Lay of the Land (2006). But of the survivors of that somewhat older, pre-Ford, generation – Gore Vidal, Philip Roth, McCarthy – DeLillo, now 73, was always an original. He has always watched and listened, taken on popular culture, the environment, waste disposal, weaponry, cultural nuance, ethnic minorities and national paranoia. His characters represent the US on the run from itself, from Iraq, from a ‘now’ weighted by history – the now that has always, since the publication of his debut Americana in 1971, preoccupied Don DeLillo.’
Irish Times
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