Cosmopolis Media Watch

This page lists mentions of DeLillo & Cosmopolis, including reviews, interviews, etc.

Cover image of Italian edition of Cosmopolis, out in June, 2003

September 19, 2003 - Anita Roy wrote from New Delhi with a review that appeared in The Hindu on August 3, 2003.

Early in the book, Eric muses on the streaming stock market reports - in the numerical patterns he discerns organic structures: "birdwing and chambered shell the data itself was soulful and glowing, a dynamic aspect of the life process. This was the eloquence of alphabets and numeric systems, now fully realized in electronic form, in the zero-oneness of the world, the digital imperative." So far, so (very) good. But when we are finally told - by Packer's killer, no less - that the key to understanding the fluctuations of the yen are to be found in Packer's own asymmetrical prostate, we suspect the writer has disappeared up his own fundament.

August 9, 2003 - Tracked down a note that Griel Marcus had in his "Top 10" of April 23, 2003:

2) Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis (Scribner)
This compact day-in-the-life novel has been savaged by critics from People to the New York Times as obvious, cheap, empty, and backward. The line is that the hero is a soulless 28-year-old billionaire financial manipulator, and that's just so three years ago, isn't it? But he isn't soulless. Like the detective in Paul Auster's City of Glass, he's holding himself together with string and gum, and then he isn't. The 2000 setting isn't in the past. It's the country blowing up in its own face, as it does whenever the individual's realization of the American dream erases America--a nation that, here, comes together only in the last pages, in the middle of the night, with 300 naked movie extras sprawled in the street.

June 28, 2003 - The Electronic Book Review offers a defense of Cosmopolis entitled "Words and Syllables", written by Sven Philipp.

Early in the novel, Eric Packer says in his car, "A person rises on a word and falls on a syllable" (12), and I cannot help thinking that here is DeLillo's own prescient voice anticipating the critical reception of his new novel. It takes much less for a literary idol to crash than to be lifted - 13 novels over 30 years to rise steadily, a meager 200 pages to fall freely. Curiously, critics are now attacking DeLillo for the same reasons they have championed him.

May 27, 2003 - A good, long profile, also from The Guardian, with quotes from Tom LeClair and Richard Powers.

The Guardian, "View from the bridge" profile of DeLillo by Emma Brockes, May 24, 2003.

Unlike the generations of writers who came after him, those who have agents and book deals before they've been published, DeLillo flopped about for years doing pretty much nothing. He had no "contacts". After quitting the ad agency, it took him four years to produce Americana, at the end of which it was still a "total mess", he says, unprintable by today's standards. "Once upon a time it was possible for an editor to see something in a first novel and to encourage. It just doesn't happen any more. Everything seems to hinge on a strong beginning and a commercial possibility." During those four years, he supported himself through freelance copy writing and spent the rest of the time, in true slacker fashion, hanging out in his mid-Manhattan neighbourhood. "I left advertising because I needed to leave. I woke up one morning and understood that, as they later began to say, this was the first day of the rest of my life. I had nothing to go to. But this is what I wanted; to smoke cigarettes, drink coffee and look at the world." He did exactly as he pleased. He was not, he says, "ambitious in a professional sense and I was not ambitious as a writer. I was fairly certain [that the book] would not come to fruition. I don't think I was panicking and it's hard to explain why, because I should have been. I think I inherited from my father a certain stoicism. I was paying such little rent that it was possible to do that in New York. But there was an element of grimness, existential grimness."

May 20, 2003 - A thoughtful review from Blake Morrison.

The Guardian, "Future tense" review of Cosmopolis by Blake Morrison, May 20, 2003.

The heroes of novels don't have to be likeable, and as the epitome of disengagement, cut off from common pursuits and recognisable feelings, Packer isn't someone we're meant to engage with. A running motif is his contempt for last week's big thing, especially technology. Skyscrapers, airports, phones, walkie-talkies, personal computers, vestibules, automated teller machines, assassination attempts on presidents: he finds them all comically outdated. His own gadgetry, with its flashing monitors and flowing numbers, works in another time-frame, bringing events before they happen and giving them a sharpness they lack in "real life". Doubt and ambiguity aren't concepts he understands. He sees himself as the future - and thinks that when he dies the world will end, not him.

May 14, 2003 - Another UK profile hits the street.

Times of London, "Great American novel? Terrifically outdated" profile of DeLillo by James Bone, May 14, 2003.

"I was well into the novel before I began to understand that the day on which the novel was set was the end of an era, and that the era quite clearly delineated between the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the current period of terror," DeLillo explains. "That is when the Dow kept soaring and the internet kept getting faster and more inclusive, and when CEOs became global celebrities and ordinary individuals had dreams of enormous wealth and sometimes achieved it."

May 13, 2003 - A lengthy profile filed in the UK, with quite a lot of direct quotes from the man:

The Telegraph, "And quiet goes the Don" a profile of DeLillo by Helena de Bertodano, May 13, 2003.

He seems more at ease talking about September 11 and the war with Iraq than about his own writing. He believes that the war has already had a profound impact on the American psyche. "I think the curious psychological subtext of the war in Iraq was to return America to its sense of the future, a feeling that had been damaged by the events of September 11."

I ask him what he means by this. "We're using our technological imperative in order to win a struggle that concerns the past and the future. This is not something that's at all overt, but I think the element exists at some level of our exertions against terrorists and the Iraq situation as well. We want to live in the future."

May 12, 2003 - Another review.

The Economist, "X-town travails" uncredited review of Cosmopolis, April 17, 2003.

It is Mr DeLillo's stylistic swagger, rather than his take on capitalism, that makes Cosmopolis such a compelling read. The pleasures and perils of getting a haircut haven't been so wittily handled since Frank Churchill made a special trip to London to reshape his rug in Jane Austen's Emma.

May 6, 2003 - More from the UK.

The Times, "Stuck in the slow lane" review of Cosmopolis by Adam Begley, May 7, 2003.

It's easier to swallow this kind of multi-vitamin if either the characters or the story is compelling. Unfortunately, almost everyone Eric meets, whether it's his bodyguard, his currency analyst, his chief of finance, or his chief of theory, talks with the same jumpy rhythm and utters portentous, streetwise prophecy ("It's cyber-capital that creates the future"; "We are speculating into the void"; "Whoever it is, that's who it is"). And despite some last-minute gunplay, the story as it evolves hardly improves on the sappy let's-cross-town-for-a-haircut premise.

The Independent, "Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo" review of Cosmopolis by Graham Caveney, May 3, 2003.

The pleasure of DeLillo's best work has always relied on a faux naiveté, a playful encouragement for us to embrace the allusions and delusions of his characters. When he takes the world at face value, it is then that he uncovers its protean allure. Here, alas, the po-faced grandeur of his conceit has squeezed out the warmth, the mischief, the oblique pathos that lent his earlier novels the passionate intelligence that this Intelligent Novel so passionately lacks.

The Times Literary Supplement, "Cooling connections" review of Cosmopolis by Tom Shippey, May 1, 2003.

Nevertheless there are undertows to the main current of Cosmopolis, and they are, in the argot of cyberpunk, the street and the meat. The meat stands for those annoying physicalities which remind even masters of the universe that they are mortal, and worse, not in control. Packer's expensive daily medicals tell him his prostate is "asymmetrical". Does that mean nothing, or does it mean cancer? This is data he cannot pro-cess. His hair keeps growing too, and the only place he will go for a haircut is across town to where they remember him as a little no-account boy ­ another iconic setting, the old-time barbershop out of Norman Rockwell, where you got your shoes shined and caught up with the neighbourhood gossip, like the old baseball stadium a place for community, and so the opposite of the detached screen-oriented inhumanity of the limo and the database.

BBC News, "Newsnight Review for Monday, 28 April" a roundtable thrashing of Cosmopolis by Will Self, Mark Kermode and others.

Mark Kermode: I thought it was insufferable on every level.

May 4, 2003 - Coverage begins in the UK.

The Guardian, "A Big Apple a day..." review of Cosmopolis by Tim Adams, May 4, 2003.

As ever, DeLillo finds in the black comedy of these encounters excruciatingly smart parables about the logic of money and the state of the American soul. His enduring preoccupation is how, given the fragmentation and exponential growth of knowledge in our world, we not only keep up with it, but, moreover, make narrative sense of it. In Underworld, he took on the implications of that challenge himself. Here, he leaves it in the hands of Packer and has some fun with his failures.

The Guardian, "Notes from New York" a profile of DeLillo and appraisal of the critical reception of Cosmopolis, by Duncan Campbell, May 4, 2003.

The hero of Cosmopolis , the new novel by Don DeLillo, is a 28-year-old billionaire called Eric Packer who lives in a 48-room penthouse apartment in New York, complete with lap pool, borzoi pen and shark tank. The inhabitants of the tank, however, are unlikely to be as savage as some of the reviewers who have fixed their critical teeth into the thirteenth novel from the man regarded by his admirers as one of the finest contemporary writers in the English language.

LA Weekly, "On Superspreaders" a piece largely on Cosmopolis and the critical landscape these days, by John Powers, April 18-24, 2003.

This year the NYTBR assigned Cosmopolis to Walter Kirn, whose earlier pan of Underworld made it clear he thought DeLillo a fraud and a bum. And guess what? He still does. Here he mocks DeLillo's "fossilized academic futurism" and, in a generational gibe, suggests that he lost touch with reality in 1968. Not irrelevantly, Kirn is himself a novelist - indeed, his most recent book, Up in the Air, is fairly dripping with DeLillo's DNA - and he sounds like a kid who wants his old man to step aside so he can run the family business.

April 30, 2003 - One more from DC.

Washington Post, "Cutting it Close" review of Cosmopolis by Rob Walker, April 27, 2003.

Sadly, Kinski gets little face time with the boss and disappears quickly. Her cosmic rambles are the closest DeLillo comes to clarifying what exactly he's up to here. This unhappy ride does not so much reach a specific destination as simply end. And for better or worse, there's no mistaking Cosmopolis for anything but a DeLillo novel -- a later DeLillo novel, told in a voice that is extremely somber, reflective, lyrical and very consciously literary. His sentences, by now unmistakable, here are meant to suggest profound truths. But in practice they are somewhat bloodless, not unlike Packer himself, whose story is less than a joy to read.

April 28, 2003 - A few more reviews to peruse.

In These Times, "Loving to Hate Don DeLillo" review of Cosmopolis by Brian Cook, April 28, 2003.

Perhaps its resemblance to the Third World accounts for the hostile reviews Cosmopolis has received from a host of critics who seem to believe that, if they cannot wipe DeLillo completely off the literary map, they can at least disparage him to the point of irrelevance. It's unlikely to rattle DeLillo; it's his cool and detached prose that has the critics so rattled to begin with ("robotic," "inscrutable," and "not human" seem to be their favorite cries). But I imagine he understands.

New Haven Register, "A ride across Manhattan, with Don DeLillo as chaffeur" review of Cosmopolis by Bob Mentzinger, April 20, 2003.

But despite DeLillo's brilliant anticipatory insights and gut-detonating, terroristic prose, it's the New Yorker vanity and sociological commentary in Cosmopolis that ultimately put it at the end of the same vapid, vacuous tangent that connects Thomas Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities to Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho. What Cosmopolis turns out to be, finally, is a critique on the emptiness of the Internet age that seems more a 21st-century redux of the lesser-talented Brat Pack authors of the 1980s than anything too groundbreaking.

Cleveland Plain Dealer, "DeLillo examines paradox of a life ruled by reason" review of Cosmopolis by Jean Dubail, April 13, 2003.

But if Packer as an individual finds a measure of redemption, DeLillo, true to the bleak vision of his earlier works, sees none for the mass of humanity, forever trapped in the flawed workings of human rationality.

April 16, 2003 - A good profile on DeLillo and Cosmopolis from the LA Times.

Los Angeles Times, "Finding reason in an age of terror" profile by David L. Ulin, April 15, 2003.

"Between the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the Age of Terror," DeLillo says, "there was this period, essentially one decade, the 1990s, and in it, there was one theme, and the name of the theme was money. People spent days and nights looking at their computer screens to watch their money growing, increasing, developing character."

April 13, 2003 - Walter Kirn has his way with Cosmopolis! (As I remember, he didn't think too much of Underworld either). Boston Globe is none too excited either.

New York Times Book Review, "Long Day's Journey into Haircut" review of Cosmopolis by Walter Kirn, April 13, 2003, p. 8.

Our world has been transistorized to a fare-thee-well -- now tell us something we don't know. DeLillo refuses. His is a fossilized academic futurism. It's as though he had gone into permanent seclusion in 1968 or so following a New Wave film festival and has gathered all of his subsequent experiences via the reading of essays on poststructuralism and the viewing of remote-control security cameras trained on major urban landmarks. The Manhattan whose buzzing, poisonous vitality inspires the book's title and supplies its stage sets seems oddly underdeveloped and poorly seen. White stretch limousines, for example, conjure up prom nights in Omaha for me, not mornings on Wall Street. Or is the image a joke, faintly skewed for effect? It's hard to tell.

Boston Globe, "Bonfire of inanities" review of Cosmopolis by Gail Caldwell, April 6, 2003.

No other contemporary writer can evoke so much dread or anomie with such precision: the uproarious terrors of White Noise; the eerie Moonie wedding of Mao II; the splendid arc of possibility -- pastoral and profane -- that characterized Underworld. Even in the The Body Artist, his frustrating, Beckettian eulogy about the limits of language, DeLillo gave us a minor performance piece, where his intelligence managed to illuminate the margins of his text. Despite its discernible firecrackers of brilliance, Cosmopolis has few such saving graces. It's irritating from its opening pages, and not just because its protagonist -- a 28-year-old billionaire money guy named Eric Packer -- is a spooky, cardboard narcissist. Loathsome characters can be commendable creations so long as their containing structure either justifies or elevates their existence. But Cosmopolis verges on parody.

Minneapolis StarTribune, review of Cosmopolis by Eric Hanson, March 30, 2003.

Ultimately, Cosmopolis probably won't rank among DeLillo's greatest works. But considering he is a writer who inspired the founding of entire organizations devoted to the study of his work, it's among the best anyone will write this year.

April 10, 2003 - A couple profiles from recent DeLillo appearances, and an interview in Entertainment Weekly!

San Francisco Chronicle, "Low-tech DeLillo tackles high-anxiety subjects" profile by Adair Lara, April 9, 2003.

Asked whether he reads reviews, DeLillo switches to second and then to third person. "Even a favorable review can make you self-conscious about your work," he says, and then, "The writer may prefer to think along intuitive lines and not know precisely what he's doing."

Chicago Tribune, "He doesn't like to talk about it" profile by Robert K. Elder, April 9, 2003. (Link requires registration).

Don DeLillo stands by the edge of Steppenwolf Theatre's mainstage, pondering the spotlight.

Arms folded, he debates stage composition with artistic director Martha Lavey who, with the author and ensemble member Tracy Letts, will read selections from DeLillo's new novel Cosmopolis that evening.

"If we move you stage left, then Martha and Tracy will be in the middle," says J.R. Lederle, the company's lighting engineer. "And people are here to see you."

"Yeah," DeLillo answers, "but I don't want to be seen."

Entertainment Weekly, "Prophet Statement" interview by Chris Nashawaty, April 11, 2003, pp. 48-49.

EW: Do you still work on a typewriter?

DeLillo: Yeah, absolutely. It's an old Olympic portable. I like the physical immediacy of it. It's very sensuous - it's the sense of the hammer striking a page and the alphabetic units being formed. To me, it's almost like two-dimensional sculpture.

April 7, 2003 - Two more reviews, from David Cowart (author of The Physics of Language on DeLillo's work) and James Wood.

American Book Review, "Mogul Mojo" review of Cosmopolis by David Cowart, forthcoming.

In Cosmopolis, then, DeLillo undertakes an objective meditation on the inevitable fate of powerful men (seldom women) and the powerful civilizations they coopt. The occasional reference to ancient Egypt hints at the decline--now gradual, now precipitous--of those states and individuals that seem most secure in their power. Less interested in polemics than in disinterested observation, DeLillo at once anatomizes our nation's appetite for sheer spectacle and satirizes the lemming-like surrender to the tide of money and power and celebrity that scours the American social shingle.

The New Republic, "Traffic" review of Cosmopolis by James Wood, April 14, 2003. A thoughtful take on DeLillo's tendency to speak through his characters.

As with Underworld, the success of the book hangs on DeLillo's ability to make the old-fashioned heart of his novel animate its postmodern body; and as with Underworld, this success is compromised by DeLillo's merely theoretical interest in human beings. Eric Packer is an idea, a satirist's smudge; he is no more human, artistically speaking, than his limousine. He exists in order for DeLillo to explore various ideas about global capital, digital information flow, financial power, and so on. From the book's start, Eric Packer is an enormous, deliberate exaggeration. This is not without humor, and DeLillo is often funny; but there is a sense in which Eric is not supposed to be real, so that DeLillo's jokes tell us less about Eric than about DeLillo's idea of how to satirize financial unreality.

April 3, 2003 - A short DeLillo interview and a couple more reviews.

Inside Borders, "A Day in the Life of the Present" interview by Paul Gediman, the cover feature of the magazine's April, 2003 issue.

Q: What is the point of writing and reading novels? Does it make sense to ask such a question?

DeLillo: Writers write because they have to. There doesn't have to be a point. The most talented young men and women are still drawn to the novel as the most spacious means of expression, and the most challenging as well. Why do readers read? Not for answers. The novel deals with questions that have no answers. But it remains the deepest route into the landscape of our motives and souls.

Toronto Globe and Mail, "In which Eric gets a haircut" review of Cosmopolis by Lee Henderson, March 29, 2003.

The novel ends, also, like a DeLillo novel should, with a blast of perplexing letdown. It's a signature move now, DeLillo's graceless, weirdo finales. Yet of the celebrated envelope-pushers, few can count themselves as successful as DeLillo, a writer who carved his own blue diamonds from coal-black post-literature. Thirteen novels now, and three of them, White Noise, Libra and Underworld, are undeniable masterpieces, essential books. "Genius alters the terms of its habitat," says one character in Cosmopolis, and here DeLillo is best describing his own artistic project -- to share with us a look at the frenzied world though his lens.

The American Prospect, "Bonfire of the Verities" review of Cosmopolis by Mark Greif, April, 2003, pp. 54-55.

New York City hasn't looked this bad in fiction since Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987), back when Tompkins Square Park was a homeless tent city and not a hipsters' village green. Prosperous, optimistic, pre- September 11 New York is nowhere to be found in DeLillo's novel. Eric Packer, Cosmopolis' 28-year-old capitalist, is Gordon Gekko redux, updated from Oliver Stone's Wall Street (1987) with remote Internet access on his watch. The novel's aesthetic comes straight from the '80s, too: flat towers, stark art and minimalist furniture.

April 1, 2003 - A DeLillo interview done in Chicago last week and a review no longer available on the web.

Chicago Sun-Times, "DeLillo Bashful? Not this Time" interview by John Barron, March 23, 2003. DeLillo makes a number of comments on the genesis & creation of Cosmopolis. Here's one sample:

"I was fairly close to finishing when the terrorist attacks happened,'' he says. "When that happened, I took a long pause. I just didn't want to work for a while, although I wrote an essay on the attacks themselves. The attacks didn't affect the novel directly, but they certainly affected me. In effect maybe two months was added on to the work.

"Aside from that I'm not sure. Maybe it had something to do with the writing itself. I did a curious thing at the outset, something I've never done before. I resolved to do tighter sentences. Sentences without dashes. Not to use analogy and metaphor to the extent I used to. I did this sheerly for the sake of writerly discipline. I wanted to put myself on a deeper level of concentration for its own sake. I worked on craft a little more tightly than usual. In Underworld I opened up the sentences more, using more dashes and images. I wanted to do something completely different this time around.''

Chicago Tribune, "Don DeLillo views the present through future-colored glasses" review of Cosmopolis by Alan Cheuse, March 23, 2003.

This is DeLillo at his playful best, toying with ideas, dressing them in old embroidered vests and long, pleated, laundered skirts because he has to in order to stay within the boundaries of believable fiction, but apparently happiest when he can break free of realistic conventions and take us on an excursion into the present as future. Or the future as present?

March 31, 2003 - Three more reviews:

The New York Observer, "All Day in a Rich Guy's Limo Makes for a Very Silly Novel" review of Cosmopolis by Laura Miller, March 31, 2003.

Mr. DeLillo ought to take his own advice here. He doesn't really have much that's insightful or even persuasive to say about the acolytes of data or the lives of the very, very rich. Nothing, certainly, to match his acute observations about suburban life in White Noise or the domestic minuet from The Body Artist. Enough of the food for thought, thanks very much. We'd rather have breakfast.

San Francisco Chronicle, "DeLillo's High Style on Cruise Control" review of Cosmopolis by David Kipen, March 30, 2003.

More than anything, this picaresque trajectory recalls the great road movies of the late '60s and early '70s, loosely structured shaggy-dog stories like "Two-Lane Blacktop" or "The Last Detail" or "Bye Bye Braverman," where the fundamental unit of measure wasn't the act or the shot but the scene. Shuffle some of DeLillo's scenes around, and the overall effect might scarcely change.

The Village Voice, "West Side Story" review of Cosmopolis by Ed Park, March 28, 2003.

The hilariously slow crosstown traffic reaches the condition of a dream, punctuated by en route visitations of Packer's advisers (he has a Sontag-'do'd "chief of theory") and assorted copulations. He beds one bodyguard, kills another, and keeps seeing things before they happen in various high-tech visual displays.

March 25, 2003 - Four more reviews to report:

The New Yorker, "One-Way Street" review of Cosmopolis by John Updike, March 31, 2003 issue.

Packer, I suppose we should keep in mind, is working through a crisis in self-confidence. His first sexual partner of this busy April day, the art dealer Didi Fancher, tells him, "You're beginning to think it's more interesting to doubt than to act." His would-be murderer, in a conversation so companionable and mutually attuned that murder seems a form of suicide, likens him to "Icarus falling" and tells him, "You did it to yourself." On reflection, Packer has to wonder, "What did he want that was not posthumous?" Death has become his métier.

His pharaonic limo ride to an underground garage on the far West Side does, however, have a few stops in the world of the living, of the substantially felt. The very notion of a daylong push along Forty-seventh Street is funny and metaphoric-a soul's slow-motion hurtle from the U.N.'s posh environs to the desolation of Hell's Kitchen, with the diamond block between Fifth and Sixth Avenues providing a splash of noontide sparkle.

New York Times, "Headed Toward a Crash, of Sorts, in a Stretch Limo" review of Cosmopolis by Michiko Kakutani, March 24, 2003.

In The Body Artist Mr. DeLillo seemed to be experimenting with this sort of language as a way of channeling his heroine's inner life and extending the sympathetic attention to character he evinced in "Underworld," but in "Cosmopolis" this intent seems to have faded away. Eric bears a passing resemblance to some of the author's early creations - people like Lyle Wynant in "Players" (1977), who are drawn to violence and disaster as a way of breaking out of their alienated, detached existences - but he's such an extreme and uninteresting exemplar of this anomie that he utterly fails to engage our attention.

He's a cartoon nihilist, a comic-strip capitalist pig, and the story of his crosstown trip to the barber, for all its melodrama and violence, turns out to be a long day's journey into tedium.

Chicago Sun Times, "DeLillo's Ode to Joyce" review of Cosmopolis by Ron Franscell, March 23, 2003.

DeLillo is pushing the hidebound limits of fiction in 2003 much the same as Joyce did 80 years ago. For that he deserves praise. Cosmopolis is nothing if not challenging, thought-provoking and utterly different. One hopes DeLillo wrote it as a comedy, too.

But there is simply no single significant character who engages the reader. Every one is emotionally armored, self-absorbed, insane or seemingly incapable of redemption. Packer is promiscuous, greedy, selfish, brusque, dishonest and cold--and those are his good qualities.

MSNBC, "Lethally funny new novel from elegant master" review by Don McLeese, March 25, 2003.

It's no surprise that Don Delillo's "Cosmopolis" is among the most provocative new novels of the season, yet few would have anticipated a book so lethally funny. This is a stealth bomb of a narrative, one in which the bloodless precision of DeLillo's deadpan prose, the formal symmetry and the stylistic elegance of the novel's construction, make the nervous breakdown of the global economy seem all the more slapstick.

March 22, 2003 - Review of Cosmopolis in Harper's, April 2003, by John Leonard (page 81). He calls the novel "fiendish." Accompanied by a Spencer Tunick photo.

In the April 2003 Esquire, an excerpt from Cosmopolis appears, entited "The Border of Fallen Bodies" (pages 124-27), accompanied by 'Barrier 3 (Delancey Street)' a photo by Spencer Tunick. The excerpt is from pages 170-178 of Cosmopolis, with some editing.

March 4, 2003 - A review of Cosmopolis by Tom LeClair appeared in Book magazine, March/April 2003 issue (Unfortunately it was severely edited. Fortunately Tom has allowed me to present the original review). Here's an excerpt - follow this link for the full review.

Into the third-person narrative of Packer's progress, DeLillo twice inserts the first-person "Confessions" of one Benno Levin, a disgruntled former employee of Packer who threatens his former boss and confronts him at the novel's end. Although Levin plans to write thousands of pages explaining why he wants to kill Packer, the motives Levin does manage to articulate are murky. The homeless Levin predictably resents Packer's wealth, but Levin also wackily believes that he has physiologically "contracted" several soul-destroying viruses from other cultures while using the Internet. Levin quotes St. Augustine--"I have become an enigma to myself"--and about this Levin is correct.

DeLillo composes Levin's "Confessions" in a chaotic or "misshapen" style--words pregnantly full or mysteriously empty of meaning, sentences that jump from subject to subject, ideas that repeat. Levin's fourteen pages thus reflect both major characters, eccentricities, the narration's aberrations, and the novel's dense compression. But Cosmopolis is also strictly symmetrical in its form--two parts, each with a chapter preceding and following pages from the "Confessions"--and lucid in its style when describing Packer's exploits. By fusing the disorderly and the orderly, a combination that neither Packer nor Levin could tolerate, DeLillo creates a craftily profound novel that requires readers to tolerate the enigmatic.

December 17, 2002 - An early review of Cosmopolis has appeared on the web at Bookmunch.

Cosmopolis heralds the return of one of the few writers capable of staring the modern world long and hard in the face.

Oct 18, 2002 - From the back cover of the advance reader's edition:


This is the story of a spectacular downfall. One man, one day, the trembling of global markets.

Eric Packer, age twenty-eight, emerges from his $104-million penthouse triplex and settles into his lavishly customized white stretch limo. At age four, Packer figured out what he would weigh on every planet in the solar system. Now, he is a billionaire asset manager, and on this April day in the year 2000, 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 riveting. Stalled in traffic by a presidential motorcade, a music idol's funeral, a movie in the making, 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 intimate encounters. Sometimes he doesn't have to.

Cosmopolis, DeLillo's thirteenth novel, is vivid, moving, and brilliantly attuned to the moment.

Oct. 5, 2002 - As noted on an Ebay auction that began on Oct 4, 2002, the Advanced Reading Copy of Cosmopolis is apparently out.
May 23, 2002 - Rumor has it that DeLillo's next novel is entitled Cosmopolis, and is set during one day in New York City. Here's a bit more detail from a Variety story by Jonathan Bing on May 21, 2002:

Cosmopolis, under contract to Scribner, is a surreal account of a Dana Giacchetto-like financier who's staked his company's fortunes on a disastrous bet on the currency exchange. The story takes place over the course of one day as he crosses from the East Side to West Side of Manhattan in a tricked-out limo, encountering various women and violent anti-capitalist protesters while being stalked by a former employee.

The story was pursuing links between this novel-in-progress and an ongoing film project by Francis Ford Coppola entitled "Megalopolis." The story also includes some news on the current status of film rights for some of DeLillo's novels.

The novel is apparently scheduled for publication by Scribner in March, 2003.

Back to DeLillo's novels.

Last updated: 30-NOV-2012