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Libra by Don DeLillo

Libra (1988)

by Don DeLillo

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,110352,951 (3.85)123
From the author of White Noise (winner of the National Book Award) and Zero K In this powerful, eerily convincing fictional speculation on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Don DeLillo chronicles Lee Harvey Oswald's odyssey from troubled teenager to a man of precarious stability who imagines himself an agent of history. When "history" presents itself in the form of two disgruntled CIA operatives who decide that an unsuccessful attempt on the life of the president will galvanize the nation against communism, the scales are irrevocably tipped. A gripping, masterful blend of fact and fiction, alive with meticulously portrayed characters both real and created, Libra is a grave, haunting, and brilliant examination of an event that has become an indelible part of the American psyche.… (more)
  1. 00
    On the Trail of the Assassins by Jim Garrison (daveowen78)
    daveowen78: A bit nutty and certainly from the conspiracy theory end of the spectrum. I am not sure how credible the author is. Never the less very interesting, and indeed fairly frightening if there is even a shred of truth to this government cover up take on the JFK assassination.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
See the truth and know it, if you can.

It's easy to see why David Foster Wallace - or, indeed, anybody - likes Don DeLillo: his dense, lingually contorted novels leave a stronghold on one's mind beyond the fact. In my case, I seldom remember the plots, but I can remember certain scenes or feelings invoked, mainly as few authors have managed both in the same way before.

It's less about the contents and more about a general sentiment.

Workmen carried lanterns along adjacent tracks. He kept a watch for sewer rats. A tenth of a second was all it took to see a thing complete. Then the express stations, the creaky brakes, people bunched like refugees. They came wagging through the doors, banged against the rubber edges, inched their way in, were quickly pinned, looking out past the nearest heads into that practiced oblivion.

As the book states, this is about the Kennedy assassination. Oswald was a Libra. Does he buy into the whole Oswald-did-it-thing? Does anybody care?

There is political intrigue here. Language snakes around as a man hits the person he's romantically entangled with, which turned me into near-vomit; one of the fores of DeLillo's strengths are how he can describe dramatic detail with few words and yet, together with the use of idiomatic expressions in dialogue, refrain from sounding tart or obtuse.

She saw him from a distance even when he was hitting her. He was never fully there.

Yes yes yes yes. God is alive and well in Texas.

Paragraphs turn into short stories at times:

“I’ll tell you a good sign,” Lee said. “I order the handgun in January, I order the rifle in March. Both guns arrive the same day. My wife would say it’s fate.” “What did you tell her about tonight?” “She thinks I’m at typing class. I dropped out of typing class two weeks ago. I got fired from my job last Saturday was my last day.”

“I have the primitive fear,” Ferrie said. “All my fears are primitive. It’s the limbic system of the brain. I’ve got a million years of terror stored up in there.” He wore a crushed sun hat, the expressive brows like clown paint over his eyes. He handed Wayne the rifle. They watched him walk to the lopsided dock and climb into the skiff.

All in all, I really got into this book around the 350-page mark. Was it worth it? Yes. ( )
  pivic | Mar 20, 2020 |
Felt like I tore through this with the inability to put it down for more than a few minutes before wanting to get back to it. An engaging re-telling of a well worn tale, located somewhere between Ellroy's American Tabloid and Pynchon's Crying of Lot 49. Like bubble gum with vitamins and antioxidants; healthy but with a whopping good time attached. Riding along on narrative momentum with occasional rest stops of brilliant social analysis.

Libra was on my "to read" list for a long time.
So happy to have finally experienced it. ( )
  23Goatboy23 | Jan 17, 2020 |
This chronicles the assassination of John F. Kennedy. For a DeLillo novel, I found it to be a decent on-- but nothing more. Surely, not one of his best. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Dec 18, 2018 |
Libra by Don DeLillo is a 1988 book. Don Delillo is a post modernist author. This is his 9th book. Libra is a retelling of the assasination of JFK by Lee Harvey Oswald.. This book will make you believe the conspiracy theories. Not sure of my rating yet. The story is the life of Oswald from childhood as a bullied, disadvantaged youth with dyslexia. The assasination, dreamed up after the Bay of Pigs to promote anti Cuban opinion and push America back into conflict with Cuba was dreamed up by disgruntled CIA agents was meant to fail. This book has a lot of espionage in it. It also has a parrallel story of the man who has been assigned to review all the data that has been collected about the assasination and write the history of the assasination ( )
  Kristelh | Aug 11, 2018 |
Really fantastic book. It took me a while to get into, what with all the characters and the jumps through time and geographical place. But after about 150 pages, it was all clicking and FUCK, I went back to read a lot of the beginning because I was loving so much of the middle. Great book. 4.5/5 if I could. ( )
  weberam2 | Nov 24, 2017 |
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To the boys at 607: Tony, Dick and Ron
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This was the year he rode the subway to the ends of the city, two hundred miles of track.
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Average: (3.85)
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1.5 2
2 28
2.5 2
3 100
3.5 41
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4.5 32
5 115

Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141188227, 0141041994

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