The Angel Esmeralda
By Don DeLillo
(Scribner, Hardcover, 9781451655841, 224pp.)
Publication Date: November 15, 2011
From one of the greatest writers of our time, his first collection of short stories, written between 1979 and 2011, chronicling—and foretelling—three decades of American life
Set in Greece, the Caribbean, Manhattan, a white-collar prison and outer space, these nine stories are a mesmerizing introduction to Don DeLillo’s iconic voice, from the rich, startling, jazz-infused rhythms of his early work to the spare, distilled, monastic language of the later stories.
In “Creation,” a couple at the end of a cruise somewhere in the West Indies can’t get off the island—flights canceled, unconfirmed reservations, a dysfunctional economy. In “Human Moments in World War III,” two men orbiting the earth, charged with gathering intelligence and reporting to Colorado Command, hear the voices of American radio, from a half century earlier. In the title story, Sisters Edgar and Grace, nuns working the violent streets of the South Bronx, confirm the neighborhood’s miracle, the apparition of a dead child, Esmeralda.
Nuns, astronauts, athletes, terrorists and travelers, the characters in The Angel Esmeralda propel themselves into the world and define it. DeLillo’s sentences are instantly recognizable, as original as the splatter of Jackson Pollock or the luminous rectangles of Mark Rothko. These nine stories describe an extraordinary journey of one great writer whose prescience about world events and ear for American language changed the literary landscape.
Don DeLillo, the author of fifteen novels, 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 for his novel Underworld. In 2010, he was awarded the PEN/Saul Bellow Prize. These stories appeared in Esquire, Harper’s, Granta, and The New Yorker.
“A beautiful book for all time”—San Francisco Chronicle
“A vital addition to DeLillo’s corpus…expertly realized…The gods have equipped DeLillo with the antennae of a visionary. There is right field, and there is left field. He comes from third field—aslant, athwart. And I love The Angel Esmeralda: Nine Stories.”—Martin Amis, The New Yorker
“A terrific overview of [DeLillo’s] many strengths, from pitch-perfect character descriptions to surprising humor to soaring lyricism...The literary fireworks of the title piece alone are a stunning example of how the ordinary can become extraordinary in a gifted artist’s hands…Behold and be dazzled.”—Josh Emmons, People
“Many of [DeLillo’s] deceptively simple sentences will leave you awestruck…This slim volume is a marvel—a masterpiece of short fiction.”—Carmela Ciuraru, USA Today
“I was dazzled…Reading this collection confirms DeLillo as one of our very best short story writers…The richness of his work, the pleasures on offer—intellectual, visceral, poetic, comic—are unrivalled.”—Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask
“Magnificent.”—Richard Eder, The Boston Globe
“[DeLillo’s] prose is masterly and austere…Even the most fragmentary of [the stories] provides the pleasure of reading the inimitably elegant sentences that DeLillo has been fashioning for four decades.”—Troy Jollimore, The Washington Post
“The typical DeLillo tale reads like a diagnosis of a zeitgeist malady we never knew we had, and in these stories the malady is one of spellbound fixation. DeLillo has achieved a very particular kind of greatness…and his gifts…are, for a contemporary American writer, unsurpassed.”—Charles Baxter, The New York Review of Books
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