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.