The Strange Effect of Don DeLillo

We here at Blogagaard have read us some Don DeLillo over the years and have various strange memories of the process of reading said novelist. There's just something about DeLillo's work that brings out the weird in us (and I wager we are not alone, my sparrows).

Ok, check out this list of his works if you'd like to play along at home!

We believe the first time we read DeLillo was our senior year of college- we read Americana for a class. We mostly don't remember this novel except for it having something to do with a road trip and how it contained a transcendent, college class outside philosophy scene near the end that rose up out of nowhere and suddenly resonated greatly with us (we were graduating from college! We were taking an Asian philosophy class!).

Next we read White Noise, loved it, and then we were read the entire first part of Underworld (the baseball part) while driving to and from the Francis Ford Coppola vineyard in Nappa Valley, California, which by the end of the day generated a stupefying, exhausted state in our minds that was not unlike mid-level hypnosis (we listened, we could not sleep nor ask the reader to stop reading).

Next, we listened to Mao II on headphones while picking up trash for St. Paul Public housing, in the middle of a hot, hot goddamn summer day, which created an even stranger, near-boderline psychotic state in our minds (why was everyone getting married, en mass, in a stadium? Why? WHY!).

Then we read, or tried to read, The Body Artist (a slim novella) in one sitting at the Highland Park Barnes & Noble. It was so dull we only made it twenty pages.

Then we read Falling Man, his 9/11 novel, and thought "Eh."

Then we reread White Noise and realized the first part was still awesome, but the ending was pretty weak and not so good.

Then we read Point Omega (2010) as soon as it came out and rather liked it. From the Scribner catalog: "In the middle of a desert "somewhere south of nowhere," to a forlorn house made of metal and clapboard, a secret war adviser has gone in search of space and time." Not too satisfying of an ending, but at least it was short!

And finally we come to The Angel Esmeralda: Nine Stories (2011) which, as it turns out, is somehow DeLillo's first short story collection. We'd only read one of these stories previously ("Midnight in Dostoyevsky") and have mostly enjoyed it.

So, what have learned from DeLillo?

Art is strange and should be put in nearly every story/novel and described for dozens of pages.

The Media is Us and We are the Media and MEDIA MEDIA MEDIA!

We are all terrified, secretly or not so secretly, because our lives are really modern and shit nowadays.

Terrorism is connected to terror.

Everybody is disconnected from everybody else.

Plot is overrated, especially if you throw in a lot of big ideas and big words! Weeeeeee!


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