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Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo

Cosmopolis (2003)

by Don DeLillo

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1,905373,597 (3.1)43
  1. 00
    Underworld by Don DeLillo (Fmancheno)
    Fmancheno: If you like the masterful way in which DeLillo makes his characters interact in a world of distances, common-day ephiphanies and alienation, Underworld proves a worthy predecessor.
  2. 00
    Dirty Little Angels by Chris Tusa (WSB7)
    WSB7: A better vision of soul-sucking modernity's effects.

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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
Definitely worth the read. 3.5/4 stars. Wish he would pad it a bit more. One thing that really bothered me was how his wife just always seemed to be around exactly where he was... ( )
  weberam2 | Nov 24, 2017 |
Cosmopolis tells the story of a young and very wealthy man as he spends his day in his limousine, meeting employees, seeing his wife and mistresses, getting caught in a large protest, getting a haircut, and finally, losing grip of reality.

The book reminded me very much of American Psycho. It shows a rich man, involved in sex and grandeur, but who suffers from a lack of real feeling, and in the end, resorts to violence. It shows an enormous emptiness in the lives of the rich and gives a sense of being out of touch with reality and with humanity.
Though the book is well-written, and I understand the point DeLillo wants to make by writing in this way, I didn't find it a very enjoyable read. It is impossible to really connect to the characters in the novel and I never really got into the novel. I get that this is probably done on purpose, but it's not a novel I'd want to reread or would recommend to someone. ( )
  Britt84 | Jan 30, 2017 |
I wanted to like this one more than I really did. I had a hard time reading it- not due to language, just because of how it came across. To me, the plot came off as very self absorbed, and nihilistic. It's kind of a depressing read. I wasn't fond of the print either. A stupid point, I understand, still it's one to be made. The print seemed too big for story. The vocabulary was large enough but came off almost too simple.
I picked up this book because I wanted to read it before I watched the movie.....kind of wondering if I'm going to watch the movie now.
Bottom line- It wasn't all that great of a read for me. ( )
  jovemako | Jul 23, 2015 |
Eric Packer, 28 year-old billionaire hedge fund manager, is about to have a really, really bad day. As he wakes up one spring morning in April 2000, the massive currency carry trade (i.e., short Japanese yen, long U.S. equities) on which he has staked his firm’s entire future is inexplicably going against him. Further, there have been several threats on his life from an unspecified source. Seemingly worst of all, his heiress wife of only a few weeks has so far refused to sleep with him.

So, what does Packer do? In his own version of Bloomsday (i.e., Leopold Bloom’s celebrated single-day wandering around Dublin in Ulysses), he decides he wants a haircut! Crossing mid-town Manhattan from the East River to the Hudson River in his customized limousine, he stretches that simple errand into a dizzying array of activities, including three meals with his wife, several casual sexual encounters, conducting his business affairs in a mobile office while getting a medical exam, getting caught in a protest demonstration, attending a funeral, becoming an extra in a movie production, and, yes, stopping in for a haircut. And none of that ends up being the most significant thing that happens to Packer that day.

This is the second time I have read Cosmopolis and I have to confess that I did not like it much when I encountered it upon its publication in 2003. Coming off a string of profoundly thought-provoking novels (e.g., White Noise, Libra, Underworld), I guess I expected nothing short of perfection from Don DeLillo. In fact, given that this was his first novel following the cathartic events of September 11, 2001, I suppose I thought Cosmopolis would be the author’s statement that helped put everything that had happened into perspective. Instead, what I found in the novel at that time was a tersely written, post-modern diatribe against global capitalism that featured one of the most unlikeable protagonists in recent memory. To make matters worse, the story was set a year-and-a-half before that terrible Tuesday and dealt with the threat of terrorism in an unsatisfyingly vague way.

What a difference a decade makes, however, at least to this reader. Given the global financial collapse in 2008—which can be viewed as terrorism of its own kind—as well as the resulting Occupy Wall Street protest movement, what once seemed like a missed opportunity on the part of the author now appears to be nothing short of a visionary statement. While it was not the book I wanted at the time—DeLillo got around to addressing the 9/11 tragedy a few years later in Falling Man--it was the story the author seems to have wanted and needed to tell. Time has shown that he made the right choice. If this was a novel you did not like (or even avoided) the first time, it might be worth a second look. ( )
2 vote browner56 | Oct 16, 2014 |
Having recently finished "Cosmopolis" I can't decide if my mind has been blown or I'm underwhelmed. I'm leaning towards the latter. During billionaire Eric Packer's quest through New York for a haircut, I had a hard time shaking the hackneyed feel of the "rich guy does sleazy things before an existential crisis and epiphany" progression. Like other reviewers, I also occasionally lost track of who was speaking during DeLillo's sometimes lengthy dialogue exchanges and found myself guessing at times. I understand the "Ulysses" comparison and can appreciate the heightened relevance following the 2008 financial meltdown (notable since this book was published years before the crisis), but I felt myself giving up after Eric experiences a revelation during the dead rapper's parade. In a book of 209 pages (in my borrowed 1st edition), the parade felt like it lasted about one quarter of that total. The concluding pages felt more thematically fitting as Eric begins to fully understand how tragic, pathetic and complete his demise has become, but I get the feeling that this evolution in his sense of self could, and should have been handled in the short story format. With the exception of the particularly exciting, violent political demonstration that grips lower Manhattan while Eric's limo wanders through, so much of this book seems to be about his sexual escapades and his electronic gadgets. Maybe that's the point, but I just wasn't feeling it. I'll delve into some of DeLillo's earlier works at a later time, but I was surprisingly disappointed with "Cosmopolis." ( )
1 vote NordicT | Nov 2, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743244257, Paperback)

“DeLillo’s most affecting novel yet...A dazzling, phosphorescent work of art.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“The clearest vision yet of what it felt like to live through that day.” —Malcolm Jones, Newsweek

“A metaphysical ghost story about a woman alone…intimate, spare, exquisite.” —Adam Begley, The New York Times Book Review

“A brilliant new novel....Don DeLillo continues to think about the modern world in language and images as quizzically beautiful as any writer.” — San Francisco Chronicle

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:07 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"Eric Packer, a billionaire asset manager at age twenty-eight, emerges from his penthouse triplex and settles into his lavishly customized white stretch limousine. On this day he is a man with two missions: to pursue a cataclysmic bet against the yen and to get a haircut across town." "His journey to the barbershop is a contemporary odyssey, funny and fast-moving. Stalled in traffic by a presidential motorcade, a music idol's funeral and a violent political demonstration, Eric receives a string of visitors - his experts on security, technology, currency, finance and theory. Sometimes he leaves the car for sexual encounters and sometimes he doesn't have to." --Book Jacket.… (more)

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