The harder I looked, the more I saw……..

April 20, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Posted in Literary Fiction | 1 Comment

‘Point Omega’ Don DeLillo, Picador, March 2010

I read a review of Don DeLillo’s latest book, ‘Point Omega’, where it simply said ‘This is literature’ and how apt it is. ‘Point Omega’ will remind you what polished literature can comprise of. Contained within two chapters and four characters is world that the reader has to look closely at to see but is richly rewarded when they do.

‘Point Omega’ opens with a man watching the ‘Psycho’ movie as an art installation slowed down to a twenty four hour running period and ‘the less there was to see, the harder he looked, the more he saw’. This idea runs through the book. A film maker, Jim Finley, has visited Richard Elster, a former Defence Department Advisor in order to make a film about Elster’s time with the Department during the second Iraq war but Elster is reluctant to talk. The visit to Elster’s home, somewhere in the desert near San Diego, becomes distended and a powerful story is brought about by Elster’s little disclosure. Sounds strange but it works.

The man watching the psycho installation, at the beginning of the book, carefully watches the people around him’s reactions to the violence on the screen. This juxtaposition offers the reader an understanding to Elster’s reluctant disclosure on the Iraq war. The book takes a more emotional turn when Elster’s daughter Jessie visits her father during Finlay’s stay, to whom Finlay becomes attracted, becoming a little like the equivalent of Psycho’s Janet Leigh. It could be argued that the novel turns into a thriller in the second chapter with the disappearance of Jessie but to no real detriment to the novel a whole.  The realizations of the characters are mirrored in the art installation of the Psycho film which I think distinguishes this novel from so many others on bookshelves out there. Don DeLillo gets to the heart of matters very quickly with his sparse language. This novel deserves a few readings as it is very intricate, just like the opening line the harder you look the more you will see…..

Haiku; Disclosure and art, DeLillo is the master, reader look closely.

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  1. Great to see such an intelligent review of DeLillo’s latest here. I’ve only discovered the site recently, but I’ve really loved the reviews of Point Omega and The Infinities. Anyone who reads this book and is hungry for more from the Don, I would point them towards The Names.

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