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review 2017-05-19 01:48
Review of White Noise by Don DeLillo
White Noise - Don DeLillo

I have a really hard time with these types of books.  It had no real plot.  It just sort of meandered along with all of the characters being hopelessly cynical about life and death.  I felt like the author could have made his point in 100 pages rather than three times that many.  Maybe it is me - I just don't enjoy a book where the characters take no real joy out of life.  Especially when that seems to be the point of the book.  

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review 2017-03-06 00:00
White Noise
White Noise - Don DeLillo,Richard Powers I am not sure what I was expecting from this one since I had never heard of Don DeLillo prior to seeing my friend Edward’s review. I didn’t read the synopsis and didn’t look at any spoilery reviews, but pictured it to be something else entirely. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it even though the structure threw me off a bit at first. Much darker and funnier than I anticipated with some pretty heavy themes and commentary. A well done and interesting read. 3.5 Stars.
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review 2016-11-28 19:22
"For if a man yet lives, death has not arrived; if he has ceased to live, death is past" St. Augustine
Zero K - Don DeLillo

So when is one dying?

 

 

DeLillo is concerned with this question. When is one dying if one is either living or dead. When does the process of dying happen? He borrows twice St. Augustine “And never can a man be more disastrously in death than when death itself shall be deathless” in Americana and once again in Zero K. He portrays the process of “dying” with Artis, the stepmother of the narrator. Jeffrey Lockhart comes to a cold place with no identity to comfort his father who has to watch his wife die. She is the dying.

 

DeLillo never finds the answer to when one is dying because it is a process that goes hand in hand with life. Jeffrey is the living entity in the novel. He is young and has no suicidal thoughts, but at the same time, his life is so empty that he is not really living. Artis wants to live but her body is failing her so she has to be kept “alive in death” in order to be resurrected in the future. Ross, Jeff’s father, is a healthy man even if he is old, but he seems to be more dead than Artis because he cannot consider a life without her.

 

So the story,imo, revolves around one’s position vis-à-vis death. Everyone is partly dying in a way or another.

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review 2016-09-02 18:16
Zero K
Zero K - Don DeLillo

My experience with reading DeLillo’s work is very limited, beginning only during my first semester of university when my professor said we’ll be reading “Cosmopolis”. I found it to be a quirky and rather strange book, and while I had qualms with it, there was still a significant sense of enjoyment after finishing it.

 

The same cannot be said for “Zero K”, which was pushing my patience from about page 70, and made it fully run out half way through the book, at chapter 10 (page 137). If “Cosmopolis” manages to still make a point with its strange, and at times dull and redundant, writing, then “Zero K” sucks all the life out of a topic that should’ve been emotional.

 

The story’s protagonist Jeffrey Lockhart remains dull and forgettable even up to the halfway point of the novel, being defined only by his endless uncertainties and muddled, pseudo-philosophical thoughts. His father Ross is defined as a poor father and a rather poor human without that necessarily being stated, running a program that freezes people in the hopes of defrosting them in the future. The nuances of the project aren’t fully worked out either, the reader being told bits and pieces of it. Artis remains a mostly undefined character up to the halfway point of the book, only being the center of attention because she is dying and the conversation of how the process works is thus grounded with her as the specific example.

 

The writing is quite muddled and slow, making it difficult to immerse into the story. Jeffrey makes for an unreliable and problematic narrator, with his constant side thoughts and overlapping ideas. The only thing about him that was mildly entertaining was his insistence to name strangers, which reminded me of someone close to me in real life. There were also a couple of quirky moments with some simple but nonetheless clever thoughts that made me hope, temporarily, that perhaps things would change and the story would pick up, lines like:

 

“What’s the point of living if we don’t die at the end of it?” (p. 40)

 

Sadly, that was far from the case, and “Zero K” managed to suck all the life out of a topic that was supposed to feel human and emotional, something that the reader should be invested in and care about considering all discussions about whether such a process of freezing and defrosting in the future could be possible. If anything, DeLillo made me hope even more strongly that science will never achieve such a thing, for humans are quite the selfish and terrible creatures that would only wreak more havoc, given the possibility of an “eternal” life. Adding nothing new to the subject matter or genre, the best way to describe the book is to use one of the lines from it as an analogy:

 

The room was small and featureless. It was generic to the point of being a thing with walls. (p. 20)

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review 2016-08-15 21:07
Running Dog - Don DeLillo

Running Dog is your typical contemporary thriller. It does not concentrate on postmodernism, stream of consciousness, or existentialism. It rather follows a journalist (what better to develop a thriller?) who seeks to uncover a mystery, and she did not expect to find what she found. I'm not sure I appreciate how Hitler was portrayed in this, but I liked the message behind it.

 

History is True

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