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Cosmopolis: A Novel Paperback – Apr 6 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (April 6 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743244257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743244251
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.5 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 236 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #77,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Hoddinott on Feb. 2 2012
Format: Paperback
I read this book over a year ago and it was very well written but I often found it hard to follow the plot. A lot of stuff is happening around Eric Packer and often I felt like it had no point and was not sure what was going on. Overall, I liked the book but it was not a book you picked up for a casual read, you really had to be paying attention to the entire scene. Interesting to see what the movie will be like.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "moritzbenedikt" on Jan. 3 2004
Format: Hardcover
As a novel it fails in every possible way: plot, characterization, dialogue etc.
If you consider Cosmopolis a prose poem it works a lot better. DeLillo should have gone all the way and write directly in verse. Cosmopolis could have been compared to The Dunciad, The Age of Anxiety, the 'dramatic monologues' of Robert Browning, The Vanity of Human Wishes, The Prelude, Byron.
In poetry the greatest possible meaning has to be expressed in the smallest possible space, and I think it works (to a point) in Cosmopolis.
The dialogues don't have to be naturalistic - just meaningful. The characters don't be to well rounded - they are just human types. The plot doesn't have to hang togheter - it has to illustrate the morality of the story.
The writing of DeLillo, in this way, is quite beatiful and his description of the effects that ridicolous wealth and power can have on people (both the rich, the hangers-on, the others) feels right.
And I don't really think that Cosmopolis is dated. A lot of things have changed after 9/11: among them not the lives of people like Eric Packer. Frankly I don't understand people who thinks that people like him are uninteresting or not important. Rich and powerful people are always interesting and important and no, they don't have to be sympathetic or human to command obedience, respect and even affection.
Of course, a real novel would have been better. Underworld is much better and important. Cosmopolis is an interesting attempt.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By zorkie1966 on June 24 2004
Format: Hardcover
I guess I was lucky in that I began with Mao II and White Noise and went from there. So I know what DeLillo is capable of. I was giddy to read this new one. But, like other reviewers, I was reminded of Brett Easton Ellis, even from the title (which reminded me of "Glamorama"). And that made me nervous right away.
The worst part about this novel is that it's completely contrived. We never get the feeling these characters are truly alive, only that DeLillo is trying to tell us something via their interaction. The coincidental meetings with the wife (you'll see) are a perfect example. But there are others. If we're just going to ride around in a limo, slowly, without any solid plot to hang our hat on, then anyone who happens to stop in for a chat will appear to have been shoved into that limo by the author.
But for the good news: it's DeLillo. A fix for the addict. His dialogue is sharp, funny and truncated, as always. Some of the passages are pure poetry (the section about the kids dancing at a rave in a burnt-out building is sublime). We know about DeLillo's apocalyptic obsessions, which were firmly in place long before 9/11, and this is more of the same. Or is it? He never mentions terrorism, but he's got a two-bit gang of thugs flinging rats around the city in demonstrations against capitalism. And there are threats on the protagonist's life. And it takes place in New York City. NYC is the cosmopolis of the title, the "city of the world," a stage that shows a microcosm of the terror in store for all mankind. So this is good old prescient DeLillo, warbling, and the sound of it will stand up to anything being written today.
Don't get this if you've never read any Don DeLillo--you'll probably be turned off. Mao II and White Noise are both great starting points, but even some of the earlier stuff that DD has since scorned (Americana, End Zone, Great Jones Street) would be a better beginning.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A DC Reader on Feb. 1 2004
Format: Hardcover
The dismissive reviews I read of Cosmopolis made me hesitate to buy it. After reading a library copy, I bought Cosmopolis to read a second time. I figure buying the book is the best vote cast in its favor.
Cosmopolis is not a facile entertainment. It requires work on the reader's part. Delillo is exploring territory that, by its nature, eludes description. The mind has well-evolved strategies for perceiving and reacting to the world; non-rational strategies largely inaccessible to waking consciousness; strategies that worked for millennia, now effectively shunted aside and concealed from view - even while they operate continuously in clandestine ways. How do you view or talk about this hidden stuff? You can't name it because language by nature is rational and this, by its nature, is not.
Delillo gives us a metaphor. Cosmopolis. It is incongruous. It doesn't match our world or its usual fictionalized portraits. The reader tries to fit the world s/he knows with the metaphor - it can't be done, it's incongruous. But in trying, the reader starts to sense an opening into something that is neither our world nor its metaphor Cosmopolis, something rising out of the tension between them.
The book is an exploration into the tension between the normal surface of things and an animating underworld we know is there but hardly know. Reading, rereading Cosmopolis, thinking about it is like opening a door in the mind that leads to rooms not often visited.
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