22 Jul 2007

Daily Link for 2007/07/22

Posted by dumpendebat

I was disappointed, overall, with DeLillo’s Falling Man. I think Andrew O’Hagan nailed it in his NYRB review:

DeLillo the novelist prepared us for September 11, but he did not prepare himself for how such an episode might, in the way of denouements, instantly fly beyond the reach of his own powers. In a moment, the reality of the occasion seems to have burst the ripeness of his style, and he truly struggles in this book to say anything that doesn’t sound in a small way like a warning that comes too late. Reading Falling Man, one feels that September 11 is an event that is suddenly far ahead of him, far beyond what he knows, and so an air of tentative rehearsal resounds in an empty hall. What is a prophet once his fiery word becomes deed? What does he have to say? What is left of the paranoid style when all its suspicions come true? Of course, a first-rate literary intelligence can eventually meet a world where reality acknowledges the properties of his style by turning them into parody, and in these circumstances, which are DeLillo’s with this particular novel, the original novelist may be said to be a person quietened by his own genius. This is another American story–the story of Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles–and it gives us a clue to the weakness of Falling Man.

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2 Responses to “Daily Link for 2007/07/22”

  1. I love his stuff (White Noise, Libra) or I hate it (Mao 2…Cosmopolis). He almost crosses that line into greatness for me. I haven’t picked up this new one. I don’t like the cover…not the best reason but hey!

    Did you ever get round to reading BLOOD MERIDIAN. McCarthy is POPular now due to Oprah’s gushing over THE ROAD but don’t let that put you off (she was crazy about Faulkner last year).



  2. He more than crosses the line into greatness for me. As I’ve stated on this blog before, I think he’s the preeminent post-WWII American novelist.

    I’d counsel you to at least wait for the paperback edition before buying Falling Man, though. I have to give DeLillo credit for tackling the subject, but I was disappointed. It’s better than Cosmopolis, though (I realize that’s damning it with faint praise).

    I did read Blood Meridian, and was impressed with it. It was enough to make me give McCarthy a second chance.



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