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Cosmopolis Paperback – 2 Apr 2004

29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New edition edition (2 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330412744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330412742
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 991,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Cosmopolis is Don DeLillo's 13th novel. His reputation as one of the most provocative and innovative of American writers is assured, thanks to such books as Underworld and Americana, but this new outing is as likely to challenge the author's legion of admirers as much as it will exhilarate them--and there's nothing wrong with that.

DeLillo's protagonist this time is a well-heeled American, Eric Packer, who sets out one eventful day for a haircut. Gazing through the windows of his white limousine (and availing himself of its state-of-the-art technology), this self-made millionaire takes in the spectacle of financiers being murdered, the funeral of a rapper and some violent anti-globalisation protests. As we come to know DeLillo's anti-hero, we realise that Eric Packer is by no means the most ingratiating of individuals. Cheating on his new wife, he specialises in using people in a cynical and exploitative way. And as this self-serving captain of industry takes an ever-more dangerous journey through a bizarrely rendered New York, it's inevitable that comparisons with Tom Wolfe's classic Bonfire of the Vanities will spring to mind. Resemblances of plot aside, however, the book is a very different animal. Wolfe's narrative had the epic spread of a latter-day War and Peace, whereas DeLillo sharpens and condenses his prose in Cosmopolis to produce an altogether more concise novel.

There are two ways to approach Cosmopolis: as a rudely pointed dissection of the American Dream, or as a surreal, symbolic (and disturbing) road trip. This is not a comforting book, but a bracing and caustic one. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


...a serious and absurd book... it is genuinely, consistently funny; it has charm. -- Daily Telegraph, May 2003

Cosmopolis works best as a historical pageant of our hi-tech fantasies, before plunged into dot.bomb. -- Waterstone's Books Quarterly, April 2003

Full of ideas, and brilliant phrases, Cosmopolis is written with the sort of intensity you simply don't get elsewhere. -- GQ Magazine, April 2003

It is Mr DeLillo's stylistic swagger that makes Cosmopolis such a compelling read. -- Economist, April 2003

There remains more than enough artistry in his sentences and irony in his observation to make the inevitable constantly surprising. -- Observer, May 2003 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By annwiddecombe on 18 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you like sentences like that one, you might like Cosmopolis.
A day, possibly the last, in the life of 28 year-old multi-billionaire, Eric Packer, as he goes in search of a haircut.
It's a novel that aims for enormous profundity, using characters that verge on the risible.
Packer himself is close to a Bond villain caricature. 'Every act he performed was self-haunted and synthetic.' His apartment has 48 rooms, a borzoi pen, a shark tank, card parlour, lap pool. What, no fluffy white cat? He owns a bomber. His body fat is under six per cent. He wears sunglasses. His stretch limo has been 'prousted' - cork lined for silence. Inside is a twenty screen video bank, microwave, heart monitor, toilet. His head of security, voice-activated firearm at the ready, accompanies him. As do two bodyguards.
Packer heads across town. The traffic is hellish.The car moves in quarter-inches. The sentences are short. Declamatory. They include phrases like 'zero-saturation'. And words like 'misweave.' Packer stops off twice on the way for sex. Various employees keep popping in and out: Micheal Chin, currency analyst. Dr Ingrams, who gives Packer his daily check up, including prostate tweak. Jane Melman chief of finance. Vija Kinski head of theory. Packer keeps bumping into his wife of twenty two days, Elise Shifrin, bad poet and heir to the Shifrin banking fortune. 'When are we going to have sex again?' he asks her, over untouched green tea and toast. She feels this way about him: 'You know things. I think you're dedicated to knowing. I think you acquire information and turn it into something stupendous and awful.You're a dangerous person..a visionary.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mike Collins on 13 July 2014
Format: Paperback
White Noise is still my favourite DeLillo novel though this one isn't up to that standard. The jokes aren't so good for one thing and when you're being arch and clever (which this is in spades) you also need to be funny or irritation quickly sets in. Like a lot of modern fiction Cosmopolis seems as much an exercise in writing (think The Goldfinch, The Luminaries, etc) as the narration of a story and it's just as well DDL is such a great writer with such an expansive sense of humour or all would be lost, as it is in his execrable The Body Artist. Others have summarised the plot but my highlights are genuinely profound musings on how digital dovetails with capitalism to everyone's disadvantage bar a few mega-rich bastards like Eric Packer; the final confrontation with a nemesis who is a self-defeating wimp; and the cream-pie interlude with the famous phantom flan-flinger Petrescu. I'm still gunning for Underworld before Christmas - that will benchmark this inconsistent author I reckon.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 April 2003
Format: Hardcover
...which is still very good.
Most of the story takes place in a stretch limousine that Eric Packer, the main character, a Master-of-the-Universe, is driven around. He basically goes from one side of downtown Manhattan to another in search of a haircut. The journey is made more arduous than normal by a visit by the president and a public funeral of a rapper. Eric thinks that someone is trying to kill him and employs all manner of different security defences to combat this threat.
This is DeLillo operating well within his talents and is nowhere near as good as White Noise (heartily recommended). However, and as you would expect, it is still relentlessly interesting and offers some things to think about.
Pretty good, but not vintage DeLillo.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jean-Marc Lantz on 22 May 2003
Format: Hardcover
After the relative, intimate calm of The Body Artist following the storm of Underworld, Don Delillo's 13th novel is again a very unsettling proposition. Eric Packer, the 28-year-old megabillionnaire and stock market gambler may well be a, if not "the", Master of the Universe as he weaves his webs from inside his state-of-the-art limousine-cum-office. Priding himself on always knowing what he wants - and today he wants a haircut - he is a born manipulator who seems to have eliminated all traces of death from his clinical world. His intuition and the belief that economic fluctuations are tied to natural cycles have made him rich, and yet there are some serious unpredictable asymmetries disturbing his world. The yen rises beyond reasonable limits and Eric is worried about his prostate and his lack of sleep.
Slowly driving through a pre-11/9 New York paralysed by the visit of the President, the funeral of his favourite rapper (like a carnival celebrating life through death) and the random acts of destruction of a group of antiglobalists (attacking not only his universe but also his car), Eric slowly unravels. Divesting himself of his bodyguards he returns to the world of his childhood - the old hairdresser knew his father well, unlike Eric - and deliberately meets the man who apparently wants to assassinate him that very day.
Cosmopolis is highly construed and appears artificial at times but DeLillo's language is honed and polished to such a fine degree that the effect is totally mesmerizing and approaches the kind of minimal poetry that Eric Packer appreciates so much.
This novel needs total concentration and should be read in as few sittings as possible for it to unfold its terrible beauty.
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