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Ned
22-11-2004, 03:25 PM
Any fans? I've read four of his books (White Noise, Americana, Underworld, and Great Jones Street) and I eventually hope to get through all the rest. Best prose in the 20th century if you ask me.

Woebot
22-11-2004, 03:59 PM
Any fans? I've read four of his books (White Noise, Americana, Underworld, and Great Jones Street) and I eventually hope to get through all the rest. Best prose in the 20th century if you ask me. i read white noise. always dead impressed by the fact that brian eno designed its cover, though that he composed the microsoft start-up noise never quite tipped me over into being a windows user (http://www.coolcatdaddy.com/rand/observations-mssound.html) ;)

i liked white noise. 'bout some college professor teaching "nazi studies" driven into a sort of "paralysis of fear" by a protective society. i wonder if k-punk has read it? what did you make of it ned?

carlos
22-11-2004, 04:27 PM
i've only read "libra" (about lee harvey oswald) - i should read more of his books.

luka
22-11-2004, 05:28 PM
i don't want to be accused of intellectual bullying but i don't like de lillo. i read mao II first. i liked that.

so i read white noise. i think david toop mentions it in ocean of sound which would explain how matt came to read it. (is that a good guess matt?)

i didn't like that. it was the smart-arsery that put me off i think. it felt too contrived.

i didn't hate that nearly as much as underworld though which i think is a major acheivement of shitness.
overreaching himself. i don;t like the folksy pose/prose and i don't buy it either. straining for profundity and coming off like a smartarse is what i reckon.

plus no book can justify being that long, life is short and books should be too.

i think i'll get drunk by myself now. anyone want to come round and cook me dinner?

oh yeah, you reminded me, i read libra as well. i can't remember hardly anything about that book.

Woebot
22-11-2004, 06:29 PM
so i read white noise. i think david toop mentions it in ocean of sound which would explain how matt came to read it. (is that a good guess matt?)

i didn't like that. it was the smart-arsery that put me off i think. it felt too contrived. gurgle, yes thats exactly what lead me to it.

i'm hardly qualified to have an opinion anyway, i've read about two books in the last five years.

(back to the music forum http://www.dissensus.com/images/smilies/wink.gif )

francesco
22-11-2004, 06:57 PM
I much liked Mao II (his best for me) and White Noise, Libra also a bit, Underworld is still unopened somewhere here, but, yes, his writing is sometimes too smart for my taste, so smart that sometimes isn't very good at nothing except clear smartness. Not that i didn't like it but I wasn't (with the exception of afoermentioned Mao II) really amazed. The same happened with the most recents Pynchon books; I rate V and Gravity's Rainbow as two of the most great books ever, but the magic didn't work anymore with Vineland and Mason_Dixon, not at all bad, but genius on autopilot.

francesco

satanmcnugget
22-11-2004, 08:15 PM
he's one of those writers i always meant to check out and never did, for whatever reason...part of thge problem is that i read so much about the books in reviews and whatnot that it kinda eroded my desire to read em for myself...enough time has lapsed that i think i shld probably dig into him soon...and Paul Bowles, too


(surprises me that Woebot isnt a big reader...very well-written/concise blogwriting without being overly pretentious...that usually signals someone who is well-read)

Corpsey
20-03-2019, 07:29 PM
I've read a few Delillos with plenty of admiration and minimal affection.

The one I read most recently (several years ago) was Cosmopolis, which I was surprised to find myself liking.

The detachment and irony of his style, also some of his metaphors e.g. (the only bit I now remember) the sunlight "scrolling" up the horizon. He either captures something about modernity or helps invent it. That is, the mythologising of the modern.

I bet I've missed humour in Delillo cos he has such a "lofty" reputation.

Luka was right about the cleverness, the naked cleverness, never a feeling not refracted through irony

Corpsey
20-03-2019, 08:17 PM
I suppose he's satirising modernity at all times

I have a similar sort of relationship with Ballard's fiction. It's not human interest in the more traditional sense. I can't connect to it emotionally but either that's the point or it's more about creating an *anti* emotion.

Corpsey
20-03-2019, 08:18 PM
Which is actually a feature in modern fiction (I guess) inaugurated by Flaubert.

Corpsey
20-03-2019, 08:19 PM
The novel as a formal exercise, a high-wire act of style...

But then, there's much more emotion in Madame Bovary than I'd expect to find in a Delillo book. Just not *warm* emotions.

Corpsey
20-03-2019, 08:33 PM
I do find a lot of Ballard's ideas fascinating, particularly in interview form, but maybe my disinterest in post modern writers generally speaking is that I'm not "in it" for the ideas.

Having read Nabokov's lectures at an impressionable age, I ended up thinking to identify with fiction was a sort of juvenile way to read, that you always had to keep an eye on the author. Useful as it is to be able to (or so you think) see what the author's doing, it's always going to involve feelings, and why shouldn't it? Tempted to soar off on some tangent about Eliot's theory of impersonality, but anyway...

What I'm trying to say is that perhaps I'm just not the sort of person who could ever appreciate these more conceptual forms (incidentally I'm not a fan of conceptual art much at all).

Ulysses is an interesting one cos it's so conceptual but also so full of beauty and compassion.

Corpsey
20-03-2019, 09:03 PM
Only just occurred to me that Cronenberg has adapted Ballard and DeLillo

Agent Nucleus
21-03-2019, 02:06 AM
I was really into the Crash film, wasn't so keen on Cosmopolis.

I thought both adaptations were shit, and I'm a fan of his work generally. Maps to the Stars, which was either adapted from a Bruce Wagner novel or scripted by him, was hugely disappointing given the perfect ingredients (great cast, great director, great writer, etc.) All it did was make me feel numb, kind of sick with indignation, and like sticky all over for some reason. But I guess that's what a Los Angeles novel/book is supposed to do. History of Violence, Eastern Promises, and A Dangerous Method were outstanding, masterpieces even. I don't know what happened. It's like he got old or something.

re Delillo: in terms of sheer power and beauty of language no one from the postwar era compares. I think his humor, warmth, and humanity have been overlooked in part because of the formal and aesthetic genius. DD is a writer's writer. There isn't a writer on the planet who wouldn't sell their soul to write sentences like Don. Don't get me wrong, sometimes the plots of his novels stall out, sometimes the dialogue feels unnatural, but who gives a fuck? Just enjoy the mastery over language while you can because there will never be another like him.

Novels of the future will look like a Twitter wall, just a splatter field of broken language and sponsored content. On a screen.

other_life
22-03-2019, 12:14 AM
loved his description of lee harvey 'living in a fiction he never bothered to put to paper.'

Corpsey
25-03-2019, 06:55 AM
Have a load of posts been deleted?

Weirding me out.

Anyway, came in here to say that I've been listening to Delillo reading from Cosmopolis and surprised to learn he sounds a bit like Richie Aprile

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Vdpd8A5sTg

https://youtu.be/ytW7ufrdh7o

Corpsey
25-03-2019, 06:23 PM
https://m.mixcloud.com/hayfestivalpodcasts/don-delillo-talks-to-james-naughtie/

This is the reading and an interview with DeLillo after. Makes me want to read some of his stuff tbh

version
26-03-2019, 09:41 PM
Don DeLillo, The Art of Fiction No. 135 (https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/1887/don-delillo-the-art-of-fiction-no-135-don-delillo)

IdleRich
27-03-2019, 07:21 AM
Only just occurred to me that Cronenberg has adapted Ballard and DeLillo

Did he do Cosmopolis? It seems to me that if you gonna adapt a book then you should understand it or at least think you understand it and so have an opinion on it. With Cosmopolis it felt as though that wasn't the case - so it was just a film with the guy from the vampire films driving around in a car. I dunno how good the book was to start with though to be fair. There was one line that stuck with me though (can't remember if it's in the film or not), something about buying a massive penthouse flat or whatever for 100 million dollars or whatever and making the point that the reason for paying that much was not cos of how good the flat was, it was simply to have paid that much money. You pay that much for the status of there being the fact that you have paid that much money - there is no other way to achieve that except by doing it. I think DeLillo put it better though. You'd hope so.
My favourite of his books (that I've read) is White Noise - someone said it's too long which means they should never read Underworld which is five times as long with a fifth of the merit.

version
27-03-2019, 02:30 PM
Don DeLillo: the Word, the Image and the Gun

Revolutions, natural disasters, toxic fall-out, plane crashes - these are all part of the running picture of news against which America's leading novelist, Don DeLillo , sets his fiction. In this film, as in his novels, DeLillo pinpoints the deep unease beneath the surface of our lives. The film begins with the assassination of President Kennedy and the politics of violence it brought to television screens for the first time. It goes on to look at the way the media has continued to feed its audience images of disaster and terror: massacres in great public squares, disasters in football stadiums, and dramatic acts of terrorism. DeLillo explores the relationship between words and images, and between gunmen and the novelist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DTePKA1wgc

luka
27-03-2019, 03:57 PM
Underworld is by far and away the worst novel I've ever read.

Corpsey
27-03-2019, 04:26 PM
Did you actually read an 800 page novel you hated?

Corpsey
27-03-2019, 04:31 PM
I hated 'Disgrace' by JM Coetzee and forced myself through it, but it's only about 300 pages.

Sometimes its actually fascinating reading a book you hate.

I recently started reading a book about Shakespeare and the author quotes some of his rubbishy contemporaries, and it really brings how good Shakespeare was/is into focus.

version
27-03-2019, 04:33 PM
Underworld is by far and away the worst novel I've ever read.

I'd go with either On the Road or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Both unbelievably boring.

luka
27-03-2019, 04:45 PM
Did you actually read an 800 page novel you hated?

I did. Mysterious. very uncharacteristic. See if you can find the opening page online. It's staggering. Nothing will ever be that bad again. It's a kind of degree zero.

Corpsey
27-03-2019, 04:49 PM
He speaks in your voice, American, and there’s a shine in his eye that’s halfway hopeful. It’s a school day, sure, but he’s nowhere near the classroom. He wants to be here instead, standing in the shadow of this old rust-hulk of a structure, and it’s hard to blame him—this metropolis of steel and concrete and flaky paint and cropped grass and enormous Chesterfield packs aslant on the scoreboards, a couple of cigarettes jutting from each. Longing on a large scale is what makes history. This is just a kid with a local yearning but he is part of an assembling crowd, anonymous thousands off the buses and trains, people in narrow columns tramping over the swing bridge above the river, and even if they are not a migration or a revolution, some vast shaking of the soul, they bring with them the body heat of a great city and their own small reveries and desperations, the unseen something that haunts the day—men in fedoras and sailors on shore leave, the stray tumble of their thoughts,

version
27-03-2019, 04:52 PM
The opening's usually considered the best bit, it was published in Harper's as Pafko at the Wall then ended up being worked into the book.

luka
27-03-2019, 04:52 PM
That's even clumsier and dopier than I remembered it being. This was received rapturously by the critics . Astonishing

luka
27-03-2019, 04:55 PM
It came out the same year as the rings of Saturn, not a terrible book actually. Both got the most hyperbolic reviews I've ever seen so I read both of them. I was 18 or 19 probably, too old to be listening to critics but I was a late developer.

luka
27-03-2019, 04:58 PM
I don't think burning books is always wrong. I think it depends on the book.

Corpsey
27-03-2019, 05:04 PM
I like the incursion of

longing on a large scale is what makes history

The dopey tone I would expect to derive from the schoolskipping kid.

I'm willing (I think) to read an 800 page Ulysses but not an 800 page underworld.

version
27-03-2019, 05:08 PM
DeLillo’s Count Chocula

We think Bram Stoker, Bela Legosi, Transylvania. Dark, foreboding castles. Coffins, fangs, mirrors without reflections. Bats flying in moonlight, creating archetypal shadows. Punctured necks and heaving bosoms. The townspeople assemble, demand vengeance.

“To kill the vampire,” the mayor says. “To return to normal.”

“Humans versus monsters,” agrees the blacksmith.

A bar wench says, “The destruction the different. The restoration of the status quo.”

The burlapped mob, moving as one body, winds up the mountain. A crowd, a mass, a flock. They arrive armed with pitchforks and burning torches; garlic and holy water; crosses and sharpened stakes. Talismans of a long dead science.

The monster is defeated, as monsters are. Screams, curses, blood. The sad, victorious dawn.

And now this chocolately cereal. Crunchy, with marshmallows.

IdleRich
27-03-2019, 05:10 PM
I've read losds of books I hate. I always try and get to the end. Imagine if the last chapter, page or line redeems it somehow. In the case of Underworld imagine if it finished "Oh, by the way, ignore everything preceding this, in fact pretend I wrote the exact opposite of every line, then you will learn so much". Like that famous job interview test they used to give us at school which began "Read to the end before doing anything" and then asked you to do really stupid things. Imagine how radical that would be - has it ever been done? Then again if Underworld finished "and then I woke up and it was all a dream" would have been better.

luka
27-03-2019, 05:14 PM
I group it with Terrence Malick. A specifically American stupidity. impotent dry humping. Bathetic.

version
27-03-2019, 05:16 PM
I've read Mao II which was boring, but the ideas were fascinating, and I'm just finishing up Libra which is a lot better and a very sad book. It's got me rewatching the Zapruder film and Ruby shooting Oswald, also a "4K 360° VR" clip of the assassination.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whBmXPaChh4

luka
27-03-2019, 05:18 PM
James Ellroy is a writer. He writes long books about Anerica and they work. It can be done.

version
27-03-2019, 05:20 PM
I thought The Black Dahlia was good, but went on a bit too long. The killer was also completely ridiculous.

version
27-03-2019, 05:24 PM
He reminds me of Robert Downey jr. for some reason.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32M2N3zD-Tk

luka
27-03-2019, 05:27 PM
I thought The Black Dahlia was good, but went on a bit too long. The killer was also completely ridiculous.

All the early ones are ridiculous in one way or another. I remember one having a trained killer wolverine in it lol

IdleRich
27-03-2019, 06:54 PM
I'm with you on Terrence Malick, did a couple of good films and fucked off for ages. When he came back he was a legend and everyone pretended they liked the comeback film which was just about ok I guess. After that every film got worse and worse - and when you consider that The New World was (at the time) one of the worst films I'd ever seen that means he really lowered the bar....
James Ellroy I've barely read but the ones I have are great. Is it common knowledge that his style came out of the fact that he'd gone massively over the word count but really didn't want to change the plot so he just cut words out of every sentence with the result that they became terser, sharper, more urgent. A happy accident but he had the brains to capitalise.

Corpsey
27-03-2019, 07:00 PM
I'd bet dollars Luka didn't like the good ones either.

version
27-03-2019, 07:01 PM
Is it common knowledge that his style came out of the fact that he'd gone massively over the word count but really didn't want to change the plot so he just cut words out of every sentence with the result that they became terser, sharper, more urgent. A happy accident but he had the brains to capitalise.

That was LA Confidential apparently. He cut every "unnecessary" word from every sentence.

version
27-03-2019, 07:03 PM
I'd bet dollars Luka didn't like the good ones either.

I liked Badlands and sort of liked, but dunno whether I really liked or disliked The Thin Red Line and The Tree of Life. They were both incredibly slow.

luka
27-03-2019, 07:03 PM
I'd bet dollars Luka didn't like the good ones either.

You're right.

luka
27-03-2019, 07:03 PM
Thin red lines got that goofy voiceover.

luka
27-03-2019, 07:04 PM
It's funny cos pretty much every other Vietnam film is great

version
27-03-2019, 07:04 PM
"On October 31, 2018 it was announced he (Malick) would be executive producing a documentary about rapper Lil Peep."

Corpsey
27-03-2019, 07:05 PM
Evangelical, tough to swallow.

In a book I read about psychopaths by a guy wot knows them he wrote that Badlands nails psychopaths with the sissy spacek character

luka
27-03-2019, 07:05 PM
Not seen badlands actually

version
27-03-2019, 07:06 PM
The Thin Red Line is WW2 though.

Corpsey
27-03-2019, 07:06 PM
I remember finding tree of life pretty nauseating at times but I did think he captured something of childhood in it

I also quite enjoyed the existential dread he got out of national geographic footage

luka
27-03-2019, 07:06 PM
The Thin Red Line is WW2 though.

That explains it.

Corpsey
27-03-2019, 07:07 PM
Interstellar has shades of malick in it especially all the bloody cornfield stuff

Corpsey
27-03-2019, 07:08 PM
It's funny cos pretty much every other Vietnam film is great

Have you seen the one with Mel Gibson in it

It's pretty much one long uninterrupted blood bath

Catholic as

version
27-03-2019, 07:11 PM
We Were Soldiers

version
27-03-2019, 07:12 PM
Apocalypse Now is easily the best Vietnam film. Nothing else comes close.

IdleRich
27-03-2019, 07:19 PM
Badlands should be seen. It has Warren Oates in it for a start which is always a good sign.
Yeah you're right Thin Red Line is WW2 but it does feel Vietnam. I remember there is a scene where bullets start flying and it was powerful, it felt as though you were really in it, that you almost understood how scary it might be. The rest of it I forgot about three seconds after it finished.

version
27-03-2019, 07:26 PM
Altman's M.A.S.H. feels a bit like Vietnam too.

Corpsey
28-03-2019, 06:44 PM
This thread encouraged me to sample a novel by Elmore Leonard (I've read and loved two novels by him before), and I had to buy it promptly.

So easy to read and yet so well written. I wonder what Luka makes of him.

luka
28-03-2019, 06:48 PM
Not read it. My dad was into it.

version
28-03-2019, 07:18 PM
I finished Libra earlier, thought it was great. The final section with Oswald's mother talking to a judge spliced with scenes from Oswald's funeral hit pretty hard.

luka
28-03-2019, 07:34 PM
I've read some George V Higgins. Mark E Smith was a fan. I wouldn't bother now but I enjoyed it at the time.

version
28-03-2019, 07:43 PM
I really liked DeLillo's description of the Kennedy assassination as "the seven seconds that broke the back of the American century”.