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Great Jones Street Paperback – Jan 17 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (Jan. 17 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140179178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140179170
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 13.3 x 1.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #316,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3.7 out of 5 stars
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By Viola L. on Nov. 23 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a great postmodern novel that really examines what it means to be human through the lenses of Bucky, the superstar who has chosen to withdraw himself from the public. In this novel, DeLillo brings up issues such as one's fear of being immobile, and thus objectified and dead; the question of human space; the changeability of human beings--"structural transposition"; humanness--what is "human"? To some extent we are like the grotesque, handicapped boy in this novel: we all have an animal side, and we all bite from time to time. This is the first DeLillo novel that I read, and I have to say that it really intrigued me and got me thinking about issues that I've never thought about before; issues that are wholly relevant and important to our lives in this postmodern, decadent world where nothing is definite.
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Format: Paperback
This is certainly not in the same league as LIBRA but Delillo does capture the 70's era in the East Village quite well.
As far as rock music novels, it's OK but I prefer Alan Arlt's THE CARPET FROGS: MUSIC AFTER TOMORROW.
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Format: Paperback
GREAT JONES STREET is a novel set in the 70's that is as relevant now as when it was first published. The main character - an AWOL rock musician - with shades of Dylan or Lennon attempts to escape the life of celebrity only to find his disappearing act, in mid tour, has made him that much more an enigma, raising the torch of his celebrity. With the much publicized saga of the late Kurt Cobain, an artist drained by commerce and ultimately destroyed by it, GREAT JONES STREET forshadows the struggle of artists within the system of commerce and capitalism of the United States. It is a novel about fame, and commerce, and the rights of the individual in society whether they be famous or not. It doesn't have the taught language of UNDERWORLD or the magnificent LIBRA but it is worth the time. A definite precursor to the grand themes of LIBRA, Delillo's finest novel.
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Format: Paperback
Great Jones Street. Here we have the makings of a pop-culture satire, the promise of the rock star monolith deciphered, the power of drugs and insanity binded with classic DeLillo style, prose and what have you.
None of these are delivered to their full extent.
The protagonist is one Billy Wunderlick, in transitions between leaving his band and entering reclusiveness. Escaping from the failure of his most recent tour, he seeks reprise in an apartment situated in Great Jones Street. Then drugs get involved, mysterious characters appear, there is alot of dialogue, almost random scatterings of insight into insanity and violence.
The underlying flaw that ruins all of this is the fact that very little of DeLillo's talent, prowress, magnificent details, shocking statements, searing precision and the ingenious structure and virtuoisty that characterise DeLillo's brilliance are evident. Even at this stage, DeLillo was learning to be a writer.
The thin plot is poorly disguised by dialogue.
To be fair though, DeLillo still deserves credit. All the characters are well crafted and several of them enigmatic and thought-provoking. The dialogue is intelligent and humourous. The novel also raises disturbing quesions concerning our blind idolisation of rock stars and the power of drugs.
But hey. The whole 'story' is set in an apartment. Things happen but you still need a story.
I'll concede this much: Great Jones Street is interesting to read as a reflection of DeLillo's earlier work.
Overall, most of you will be disappointed. You'll finish the novel with mixed feelings. Subjectively, Great Jones Street was not carried to its potential. DeLillo at is best can be found in Underworld, White Noise and Mao II, Libra, the one's you've heard of and possibly read before. Save your breath. Great Jones Street is readable, occassionally insightful, quite enjoyable but very very unremarkable.
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Format: Paperback
Read the first page of Great Jones Street and you might think you've stumbled across a new DeLillo novel about Kurt Cobain. "Perhaps the only natural law attaching to true fame is that the famous man is compelled, eventually, to commit suicide," DeLillo writes, with eerie foresight.
Unfortunately for contemporary readers, that Cobain imagery is likely to stick with you throughout this 1973 novel and become a distraction. Bucky Wunderlick, DeLillo's rock idol, is neither as tortured or talented as Cobain. As other critics have noted, his lyrics are awful. DeLillo doesn't have an ear for rock lyrics (or at least didn't in the early 70s.)
Like Running Dog, Great Jones Street is a great premise and an awkward delivery. DeLillo had yet to develop his signature style of putting subtext before story. He also hadn't developed his micro-detail style of painting an environment, which he used to such brilliant effect in describing the supermarket in "White Noise" and the Bronx of his youth in "Underworld." What we're left with is conventional dialogue-and-plot story telling -- which is what DeLillo has always done worst.
If you've read the masterworks of the DeLillo canon -- Ratner's Star, The Names, White Noise, Libra, Mao II and Underworld -- Great Jones Street is a worthwhile diversion. If you haven't read DeLillo's best, come back when you're done.
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