With his customary verve DeLillo celebrates the end of the millennium with a
sleek powerhouse of a novel. While the surface is a brash and biting commentary
on the late twentieth-century world of finance, delve below and one discovers
DeLillo continuing to map human frailty and alienation in frightening precision.
Synopses & Reviews
It is an April day in the year 2000 and an era is about to end. The booming times of market optimism when the culture boiled with money and corporations seemed more vital and influential than governments are poised to crash. Eric Packer, a billionaire asset manager at age twenty-eight, emerges from his penthouse triplex and settles into his lavishly customized white stretch limousine. Today he is a man with two missions: to pursue a cataclysmic bet against the yen and to get a haircut across town. Stalled in traffic by a presidential motorcade, a music idol's funeral, and a violent political demonstration, Eric receives a string of visitors experts on security, technology, currency, finance, and a few sexual partners as the limo sputters toward an increasingly uncertain future.
Cosmopolis, Don DeLillo's thirteenth novel, is both intimate and global, a vivid and moving account of the spectacular downfall of one man, and of an era.
"[A] monotone 13th novel....[DeLillo] seems surprisingly disengaged here. His spotlighted New Economy icon, Eric, doesn't work, either as a genius financier...or a thinker....DeLillo is surely an American master, but this time out, he is doodling." Publishers Weekly
"[B]leakly funny....DeLillo assembles [his] quirky particulars expertly and he still writes better sentences than any other contemporary author....The tale is ingenious and amusing, and theres a chilling logic to its eloquent climax..." Kirkus Reviews
"By turns breathtakingly poetic and devastatingly witty, his descriptions of today's urban reality...make the present seem like a forbidding, to-be-avoided future." Donna Seaman, Booklist
"[A] major dud....DeLillo has chosen to spurn the wonderfully fizzy, tactile prose he once reveled in for the stripped-down, almost abstract language he employed in his 2001 novella, The Body Artist....[A] long day's journey into tedium." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"DeLillo has chosen an almost cartoonish pop-up narrative....Cosmopolis is not one of DeLillo's best novels, but it is one of his best intentioned and should be widely read, probably twice or more by those who enjoy contemplating life's enigmas." Tom LeClair, Book Magazine
"[S]hort and tightly focused, indeed almost claustrophobic....Cosmopolis reverts to the standard DeLillo boilerplate, perceptive and funny but also brittle and cold. This...makes Cosmopolis a step backward rather than an artistic advance." Library Journal
"The dovetailing of these two plots ought to make Cosmopolis suspenseful, but it's not. The novel oozes toward its nonclimax like a vehicle stuck in traffic, an effect DeLillo must have wanted." St. Petersburg Times
"Cosmopolis may not be the best book that [DeLillo] has written, or is capable of writing, but in these grim days it is probably the best that we can expect." John Banville, Bookforum
"If abstract musings on financial and technological power thrill you, perhaps you'll be stirred by Cosmopolis. That the novel lacks what Latin Americans call calor humano, or human warmth, will no doubt discourage some readers." Houston Chronicle
"[De Lillo's] sentences, by now unmistakable, here are meant to suggest profound truths. But in practice they are somewhat bloodless, not unlike Packer himself, whose story is less than a joy to read." Rob Walker, The Washington Post Book World
"A totalitarian reading experience that clicks by without surprise or spontaneity....Cosmopolis is an intellectual turkey shoot, sending up a succession of fat targets just in time for its author to aim and fire the rounds he loaded before he started writing." Walter Kirn, The New York Times Book Review
"Some will hate Cosmopolis both for the cold logic of Packer's precipitous fall and for the cool, flat, cynical surface of DeLillo's prose. What they miss is the humor, the play of ideas and DeLillo's incredible ear for American vernacular speech." Portland Oregonian
"Cosmopolis is a small book, barely more than 200 pages, yet epic in its vision. Nor does it abandon the reader to the detritus of a world without remedy." Baltimore Sun
"[U]nsurprisingly brilliant....One of the side benefits of the author's Faustianly prodigious verbal facility is that he can unstring us with laughter one minute, paralyze us with horror the next." San Francisco Chronicle
"DeLillo's fervent intelligence and his fastidious, edgy prose...weave halos of import around every event, however far-fetched and random. But the trouble with a tale where anything can happen is that somehow nothing happens." John Updike, The New Yorker
, Don DeLillo's new novel is an up-to-the-minute gizmo with a nineteenth-century heart. It tells the story of a day of reckoning, a day in the life of a young billionaire financier named Eric Packer, who begins the book full of postmodern cynicism and Manhattan materialism, and ends it chastened, suddenly penniless, and eager to change his life." James Wood, The New Republic
(read the entire New Republic review
“DeLillos most affecting novel yet...A dazzling, phosphorescent work of art.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“The clearest vision yet of what it felt like to live through that day.” —Malcolm Jones, Newsweek
“A metaphysical ghost story about a woman alone…intimate, spare, exquisite.” —Adam Begley, The New York Times Book Review
“A brilliant new novel....Don DeLillo continues to think about the modern world in language and images as quizzically beautiful as any writer.” — San Francisco Chronicle
About the Author
Don DeLillo is the author of thirteen novels and two plays. He has won the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and the Jerusalem Prize.