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Mao II
 
 

Mao II [Kindle Edition]

Don Delillo
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Product Description

Review

"Disturbing, provocative and darkly comic, Mao II reads, at once, as a sociological meditation on the perils of contemporary society, and as a kind of new-wave thriller" (Michiko Kakutani New York Times)

"A work of fiction not merely astonishingly fitting for our times, but rich and rewarding for anyone wishing to understand them" (Sunday Times)

"Full of marvels, both in its imagery and its language" (Irish Times)

"This novel's a beauty. Delillo takes us on a breathtaking journey, beyond the official versions of our daily history, behind all easy assumptions about who we're supposed to be, with a vision as bold and a voice as eloquent and morally focused as any in American writing" (Thomas Pynchon)

Book Description

'This novel's a beauty' Thomas Pynchon

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 666 KB
  • Print Length: 260 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0140152741
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New Ed edition (28 Feb 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004LB5A04
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #127,417 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer Brilliance 8 Aug 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Having read Underworld, I though DeLillo would never have been able to prodece a book that would dazzle me more ... but Mao II is just that book. The sheer beauty of the prose is in places breathtaking, and the enormity of the ideas and themes, played out in the small details of characters lives and fragments of images viewed on television screens, held me engaged enough to finish the book in one sitting. There are sections I have returned to again and again - The photographing of Bill Gray, the depiction of Khomeni's funeral - and I have yet to not find the return worthwhile. Yes, Underworld is a huge and great novel - but for literary genius, this is the one to read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable book, recommended 22 July 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I can't tell you if this book is objectively good or bad; I am not a critic and I don't want to dissect it. I liked this book a lot. I read it in two days and enjoyed it; it made me think and it didn't leave an impression of being didactic or pretentious. I think it is well written.
As for Warhol ripoff accusation, I don't see how it applies to anything but the cover design. Warhol and DeLillo happen to contemplate the same problems: the role of individual and group, the relationship between a crowd and celebrity etc. And this book is no more a Warhol ripoff than the Mao series are a ripoff of the artist who did the original Mao portrait - in other words, DeLillo organically appropriates the work of Warhol in the context of his book for his own ends and gives it his own meaning.
Again: good book. Read it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reread and Re-Enjoyed This Modern Classic 10 Aug 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This fascinating novel probes the connection between isolation and mass movements in the modern world. In doing so, DeLillo is intensely personal, creating some memorable characters, who are visually and emotionally there, on the page, in full brilliance and confusion. He also employs sublime writing, which captures experiences, images, or ideas of individual isolation or mass movements and then juxtaposes them, showing weird but profound connections. My favorite pages are 149-153, where DeLillo describes New York City's Tompkins Square in the early nineties. Then, drug abusers, the mentally ill, and the homeless turned this lovely neighborhood square into a shambling, threatening shantytown. If you missed it, DeLillo has saved the moment.
The central figure in this book is Bill Gray, an isolated writer with a wide and discerning following. Anyone who wants to write might ponder two of his insights: "Writing is bad for the soul when you get right down to it. It protects your worst tendencies." (page198); or, "It was the writing that caused his life to disappear." (page 215).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Big Al
Format:Paperback
Although there is a strong story, Mao II is more an exploration of interconnected themes and images. It raises a lot of issues that stay with you, and insists that you think for yourself.

For me the main theme was around how people could be controlled by individuals. At the highest level, this was applied to groups, such as the Moonies and Maoist terrorists. This was set against a series of backdrops of crowd behaviours and mass tragedies, such as Hillsborough, Tiananmen Square, and an unnamed square in New York where the homeless congregate.

The same theme ran through the main characters. The central character is a dissolute writer, Bill Gray, who has stayed hidden for 20 years. His life is organised, and largely controlled, by a fan who has tracked him down and become his personal assistant. He is supported by an ex-Moonie girlfriend, who has not been completely de-programmed. They both become protective when the writer insists on being photographed by a photographer from New York who "only does writers". The new character destabilises the situation, and the writer re-enters the wider world.

It is here that the second theme of "writing and terrorism as a zero sum game" emerges. Bill is convinced that terrorists are taking the ground for commentary that was the preserve of serious novelists, and that news is the medium for them doing so. He becomes involved in the negotiation for the life of a poet held hostage in Beirut, and seems to become the target of the same group.

Some of the imagery is prescient: the twin towers of the World Trade Centre loom large through the window of the photographer's apartment, ten whole years before 9/11. Some of it is already out of date, either technically and socially.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Supremely written. 10 May 2002
Format:Paperback
DeLillo's intelligence is astounding; his observations seem to clarify many uncatergorised fears that makes us 'all to human'; the scope and depth of his imagination is frightening: and all in all this is definitely a fantastic read.
In a nutshell, the plot is secondary to the ideas and themes that run throughout this epic novel - the power of imagery (photgraphs, mainly) and words, global terrorism and movements. Of these themes, the most striking is the photograph, and, in a sense, how the definite image of an event has come to resemble more than the reality itself.
The central characters are a female photographer and a reclusive author, who come together for a once-in-a-lifetime photo shoot of the hermit novelist, and it is the build-up and culmination of this which makes up the rest of the novel. The exchange here is one of the most brilliantly written, thoughtful, most inspiring pieces fo literature I've ever read, and i recommend everyone to give it a go merely for this alone.
Can't say too much about the plot, since there isn't really one. But, if a storyline is essential to your enjoyment of a book, I suggest leaving this alone . . . On second thoughts - give it a go and it'll probably change your stance.
For this reason, though, it loses one star.
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Popular Highlights

 (What's this?)
&quote;
Years ago I used to think it was possible for a novelist to alter the inner life of the culture. Now bomb-makers and gunmen have taken that territory. They make raids on human consciousness. What writers used to do before we were all incorporated.” &quote;
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users
&quote;
News of disaster is the only narrative people need. The darker the news, the grander the narrative. &quote;
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users
&quote;
It’s confusing when they kill the innocent. But this is precisely the language of being noticed, the only language the West understands. The way they determine how we see them. The way they dominate the rush of endless streaming images. I said in London, Bill. It’s the novelist who understands the secret life, the rage that underlies all obscurity and neglect. You’re half murderers, most of you.” &quote;
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users

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