Ratner's Star Paperback – Jul 17 1989
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"A mind-expanding trip to the finish line, and full of wit and slapstick as well..." Washington Post Book World "DeLillo's early-career masterpiece ... it's a dense, entertaining, mind-bending boomerang of a book that luxuriates in the language of math and science" L A Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Inside Flap
One of DeLillo's first novels, Ratner's Star follows Billy, the genius adolescent, who is recruited to live in obscurity, underground, as he tries to help a panel of estranged, demented, and yet lovable scientists communicate with beings from outer space. It is a mix of quirky humor, science, mathematical theories, as well as the complex emotional distance and sadness people feel. Ratner's Star demonstrates both the thematic and prosaic muscularity that typifies DeLillo's later and more recent works, like "The Names (which is also available in Vintage Contemporaries).See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
now as a fun-type book, if you enjoyed the "calvinball" in the "calvin and hobbes," you'll love half-ball, and for fans of "deep thought," delillo's "space brain" provides nearly un-endurable humour (oh, wait, space brain's changed it's mind again. . .). the only way in which i'd fault delillo is that he (as many others have done/continue to do) is under the impression that mathematicians desire to win a nobel prize, but the truth is, not-just-a-few mathematicians see the nobel as a cute prize that pales in comparison to the fields medal. other than this (annoying) hindrence, ratner's star is a truly exceptional book. if you want lighter reading, go with "white noise," but ratner's star is most definitely its equal, and in some ways (that are directly related to how much the book demands of the reader and how much work the reader is willing to put into the book-as-art aspects (i.e. going after meanings not plainly displayed on the surface)) i think it exceeds all of the delillo i've read excepting underworld. basically, read this book, it'll make you're life better.
oh, that "typewriters?" things?Read more ›
Ratner's Star is mediocre DeLillo (which is still great!) for those not interested in math and science -- and perhaps top DeLillo for those who are interested in math or physics. Extra points for those readers who were intellectually precocious as kids: you will definitely identify with Billy, more or less.
The ending is wonderful, and I must say I didn't see it coming; although as soon as I read it, I thought "how could I not have seen it coming!" That is the mark of a well crafted novel.
I feel inclined to say that I was left frustrated at times. There is so much fluidity and generous portions of classic Delillo in the first half, yet in an attempt to succeed this, the second half finds itself drowning in the abyss. The length of the book is also not totally justified when the almost non-existent plot is put into consideration.
Heart breaking also is the absence of his portrayals of the real world, what Delillo really does shine at. Departing from that field, we have here a slightly irritating mix of insane characters and the psychedelic combination of fantasy, mathematics and science. There is imagination here but it appears to be used in the wrong way.
If you like Delillo, you will cherish this weighty book, but at the same time you might walk away feeling cheated by this book whose art is so hard to define.
Most recent customer reviews
For those looking for a bit of light reading, I would advise against this book. True, very little of DeLillo is easygoing, but this, his fourth novel, makes his others read as... Read morePublished on March 16 2003 by C. N. White
I think this is one of Delillo's best, and one of the best books I've read in a while. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for books about mathematicians, and the caricatures... Read morePublished on July 30 2000
This is a most lovely book/thing. The contents/style is enchanting beyond compare. With poetry so nice it becomes unreal/fantastic, DeLillo shows us the human/spiritual somehow... Read morePublished on June 28 2000 by David Baird
Ratner's Star is one of those teasingly annoying cultural phenomena that arise when an artist you really like and admire does something you neither admire nor enjoy (other examples... Read morePublished on Dec 3 1999
I could seriously argue that Delillo is America's greatest living author. This, however, does not prove it.Published on Sept. 14 1999 by John Esther
What can I say?Surreally funny.Exercise for your brain.The best characters you will find anywhere.Published on May 31 1999
If a book was ever written with more hype and less content, then God help you if you read it. Painfully drawn out, dawdling excruciatingly towards a cul-de-sac of utterly boring... Read morePublished on Jan. 2 1999
Don DeLillo fans should turn to this very fine novel after reading the more recent "White Noise and beyond" novels. Read morePublished on March 30 1998 by rmd