On DeLillo

Somehow I find myself closing in on completing DeLillo’s oeuvre after finishing a couple of his shorter works lately. I think the longer ones are better, generally, because there’s enough material to make the slightly incomplete nature of his books seem mysterious, like if you took it apart and read the pages in a different order it might reveal something else. His slightly hard-boiled narrative style contributes to this as well. A refusal to address the reader. This was a more common narrative stance in the seventies and eighties, maybe. The minimalism vs maximalism wars.

Unfortunately I bet the works I have yet to read are not going to wind up being faves. But I’m going to keep going. I do not think there is another author whose complete works I’ve read. Well, I guess I may have already depleted the whole of Barthelme.

Surprisingly, I really think Libra is going to wind up very near the top of the pile in my estimation. I got it when it was new in hardback (thanks Dad!) and then proceeded not to read it for, apparently, decades, feeling that it was perhaps going to be too obvious. It is not. And I think he’s better when he’s grappling with the whole of America — providing that sense of great mystery, again, alongside great banality. Underworld also does this.

Still, what a sound. What music. He’s like the Velvet Underground. Inescapable. 📚