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Players by Don DeLillo
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Players (1977)

by Don DeLillo

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the dialogue is too stylized, unrealistic. . . I couldn't get in to it. In high school I read "White Noise" and "Underworld" and quite liked them; I guess my literary tastes have changed
  allisonneke | Dec 17, 2013 |
Dust it off, then.: It's interesting to turn to early DeLillo and find that in more than a quarter of a century, the themes that drive his work are more contemporary than ever; as Diane Johnson wrote in the New York Times in 1977, "This elegant, highly finished novel does not shrink from suggesting the complicity of Americans with the terrorists they deplore". The complicity is not direct, even though one of the main characters does become directly enmeshed in a terrorist conspiracy the extent of which he is (and we, the readers, are) not fully cognizant. Rather, the complicity is systemic, terrorism the shadow of the bright waves of electronic capitalism, the anti-thesis, lying only as far away as the reverse side of a thin paper page. In this, as in the sparkling quality of his prose, he resembles Jean Baudrillard, French philosopher-provocateur; both quip and incant their way towards revealing alleged secret truths about the real sources of terror and violence, secrets of systems and alienation. This sort of language I think becomes tiring once you've read more than a few of DeLillo's novels -- he is forever talking about inner meanings, hidden truths, darkly wound secrets, et cetera. It isn't the ideas that are misplaced (contemporary novels are rightfully full of conspiracy), but the language; these are the only passages where DeLillo becomes literal rather than figurative, the only places where it seems DeLillo himself comes out from beneath the narrative guise. And to say he doesn't need to is to credit the complete remainder of the text -- it races, clean and honed, from page to page, reading as quickly as ads flashing past on a subway. And as Players unwinds, it nails modern malaise and restlessness, diagnosing the moral disengagement that hasn't stemmed since it was written, and is caustically funny in a way which no-one else I have read can match. I found myself, on finishing, talking to people in the same obscure one-liners used by his characters (of course, he doesn't do character, really; that is part of the diagnosis). The whole thing is pitch-perfect and prescient; he should be compulsory.
  iayork | Aug 9, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679722939, Paperback)

In Players DeLillo explores the dark side of contemporary affluence and its discontents. Pammy and Lyle Wynant are an attractive, modern couple who seem to have it all. Yet behind their "ideal" life is a lingering boredom and quiet desperation: their talk is mostly chatter, their sex life more a matter of obligatory "satisfaction" than pleasure. Then Lyle sees a man killed on the floor of the Stock Exchange and becomes involved with the terrorists responsible; Pammy leaves for Maine with a homosexual couple.... And still they remain untouched, "players" indifferent to the violence that surrounds them, and that they have helped to create.

Originally published in 1977 (before his National Book Award-winning White Noise and the recent blockbuster Underworld), Players is a fast-moving yet starkly drawn socially critical drama that demonstrates the razor-sharp prose and thematic density for which DeLillo is renown today.

"The wit, elegance and economy of Don DeLillo's art are equal to the bitter clarity of his perceptions."--New York Times Book Review

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:33 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Pammy and Lyle Wynant are an attractive, modern couple who seem to have it all. Yet behind their "ideal" life is a lingering boredom and quiet desperation: their talk is mostly chatter, their sex life more a matter of obligatory "satisfaction" than pleasure. Then Lyle sees a man killed on the floor of the Stock Exchange and becomes involved with the terrorists responsible; Pammy leaves for Maine with a homosexual couple. And still they remain untouched, "players" indifferent to the violence that surrounds them, and that they have helped to create."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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