Publication Date: February 2, 2010
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In the middle of a desert “somewhere south of nowhere,” to a forlorn house made of metal and clapboard, a secret war advisor has gone in search of space and time. Richard Elster, seventy-three, was a scholar—an outsider—when he was called to a meeting with government war planners. They asked Elster to conceptualize their efforts—to form an intellectual framework for their troop deployments, counterinsurgency, orders for rendition. For two years he read their classified documents and attended secret meetings. He was to map the reality these men were trying to create. “Bulk and swagger,” he called it. At the end of his service, Elster retreats to the desert, where he is joined by a filmmaker intent on documenting his experience. Jim Finley wants to make a one-take film, Elster its single character—“Just a man against a wall.”
The two men sit on the deck, drinking and talking. Finley makes the case for his film. Weeks go by. And then Elster’s daughter Jessie visits—an “otherworldly” woman from New York—who dramatically alters the dynamic of the story. When a devastating event follows, all the men’s talk, the accumulated meaning of conversation and connection, is thrown into question. What is left is loss, fierce and incomprehensible.
Don DeLillo, the author of fifteen novels, including Underworld, Falling Man, White Noise, and Libra, has won the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the Jerusalem Prize for his complete body of work and the William Dean Howells Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2010, he was awarded the PEN/Saul Bellow Prize. The Angel Esmeralda was a finalist for the 2011 Story Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. In October 2012, DeLillo receives the Carl Sandburg Literary Award for his body of work.
The author's latest novel is Point Omega, the story of a man who aided in the planning of the Iraq war. Like many of the books in DeLillo's 40-year career, it connects real-life events with themes of isolation and inevitability. More at NPR.org
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“A splendid, fierce novel by a deep practitioner of the form…. Enlivening, challenging, harrowing and beautiful.”—Matthew Sharpe, Los Angeles Times
"If Underworld was DeLillo’s extravagant funeral for the twentieth century, Point Omega is the farewell party for the last decade.... DeLillo has …. written the first important novel of the year."--Michael Miller, New York Observer
“A novel of ideas — about how language, film and art alter what we think of as reality. It's for readers ready to slow down and savor the words. It's for those who would watch not just Psycho, but ponder the meanings of ‘24 Hour Psycho’.”—Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today
“DeLillo is, without any doubt or qualification, one of the most influential, brilliant, gifted and insightful of American novelists. There are sentences in this book that are breathtaking.”—Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star
“Haunting… DeLillo slows down the whole culture, all of our repertoire of artifacts, words, and gestures.”—Greil Marcus
“DeLillo has achieved a precision and economy of language here that any writer would envy.”—David Ignatius, Washington Post Book World