Valparaiso: A Play Paperback – Jun 13 2000
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Ed Siegel The boston Globe Valparaiso may be the novelist's most satisfying work since White Noise....Valparaiso is art at its finest.
Kane Webb Arkansas Democrat Gazette [A] sugar rush of a story...Valparaiso is a terrific read.
About the Author
Don DeLillo is the author of fifteen novels, including Zero K, Underworld, Falling Man, White Noise, and Libra. He has won the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the Jerusalem Prize for his complete body of work, and the William Dean Howells Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2010, he was awarded the PEN/Saul Bellow Prize. His story collection The Angel Esmeralda was a finalist for the 2011 Story Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.
Top Customer Reviews
Reviewing a reading of a play is always more difficult than a novel or a collection of short stories as you do not enjoy the work of art as it was meant to be presented to you. You can only imagine the interaction between the actors, the way the set looks, the manner and cadences of speaking. As it reads, the play is a darkly comic vision of the way Americans are developed by our media culture.
We see the development of Michael through a series of interviews of himself and his wife. Act I has numerous interviews by unnamed interviewers. In these we see Michael developing a larger sense of himself, and his worth, and the worth of his story. We see some interviewers helping him create this sense of self-importance by hanging on his every word. The media culture takes a beating in this play, as it does in most Delillo novels. They want to know everything that happened, everything that didn't happen, what he thought about what happened, what he thought about what didn't happen, what Livia thought, etc. It all has to be documented on their radio or television shows because if it isn't, it didn't happen. Act II has a single television show interview of both Michael and Livia and has an almost Jerry Springer feel to it as Livia at one point announces the child she is pregnant with is not Michael's.Read more ›
You (or I, on another day) may disagree with my supposition, and to be fair if his work can be pegged to a central premise, it is likely a tad more subtle and complex, but I think it is a good place to begin.
In Valparaiso, Delillo sends us on a preposterous postmodern journey to god knows where (only here, he situates god knows where in Chile). He grabs the uneasy in each of us and throws it up on the stage. "Here, look at this: Remember how uncomfortable contemporary society can make you? When's the last time you had a meaningful conversation with your spouse? When's the last time you had a meaningful thought?"
Delillo adds depth to the otherwise hackneyed proposal that our 'individuality' is merely a creation of our preferences as consumers. His characters here may not reveal their complex inner lives, but one suspects that they may be more than an amalgam of what they buy on Amazon or see on cable.
Sure maybe it's all affectation. Maybe D's being insincere in the way he poses the questions. I don't think so. I think what you'll find is a smartly crafted, mildly apocalyptic tale of suburban dis-ease. If it works well, you should feel a slight nausea at play's end.
Valparaiso is very much worth seeing performed by a smart group of actors. It is also very much worth reading.
Most recent customer reviews
Writing satire is fun and easy. As long as your work is satirical, you don't need real dialogue, well-formed characters, or an interesting plotline. Read morePublished on July 19 2002 by biz markie
"Valparaiso" is a play by Don DeLillo. According to the book's copyright page, the play was first performed in 1999 at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Read morePublished on Feb. 4 2002 by Michael J. Mazza
I attended a performance of Valaparaiso before reading the play. For that reason, I think I appreciate it much more than I would have otherwise. Read morePublished on May 4 2000 by Amy J. Ashcroft
I am a fan of Don Delillo and can usually defend him against most accusations of pretentiousness, unbelievable plots and dialogue and one dimensional characters. Read morePublished on May 2 2000 by Brent Woods
As a social commentary, Valparaiso ably tackles the "one minute of fame" phenomenon, our obsession with media, our existential search for meaning in anything as trivial... Read morePublished on Oct. 2 1999 by J. Aaron Bellamy
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