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Point Omega Paperback – 4 Mar 2011

16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Main Market Ed. edition (4 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330512390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330512398
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"If "Underworld" was DeLillo's extravagant funeral for the twentieth century, "Point Omega" is the farewell party for the last decade.... DeLillo has .... written the first important novel of the year."--Michael Miller, "New York Observer"

Book Description

In the middle of a desert ‘somewhere south of nowhere’, to a forlorn house made of metal and clapboard, a secret war adviser has gone in search of space and time. Richard Elster, seventy-three, was a scholar – an outsider – when he was called to a meeting with government war planners. For two years he tried to make intellectual sense of the troop deployments, counterinsurgency, orders for rendition. He was to map the reality these men were trying to create. At the end of his service, Elster retreats to the desert, where he is joined by a young filmmaker intent on documenting his experience. Jim Finley wants to make a one-take film, Elster its single character – ‘Just a man against a wall.’ The two men sit on the deck, drinking and talking. Finley makes the case for his film. Weeks go by. And then Elster’s daughter Jessie visits – an ‘otherworldly’ woman from New York – who dramatically alters the dynamic of the story. When a devastating event follows, all the men’s talk, the accumulated meaning of conversation and isolation, is thrown into question. What is left is loss, fierce and incomprehensible. Point Omega is a deeply unnerving and brilliant work from one of our greatest living writers. ‘DeLillo is one of the greatest living American writers’ Scotland on Sunday --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By J. Ang on 5 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
Delillo, the master of clean, spare prose, tackles the difficult subject of time, mortality and the mystery of human relationships in this slim novella. Despite the brevity of the story, it is framed in three parts, which some critics have observed that it reads like the 3 lines of a haiku.

The first part details a nameless character who obsessively views a conceptual art installation called "24 hour Psycho", which is a deliberate slowing down of Hitchcock's film so that it spans 24 hours. To the unnamed viewer, "the original movie was fiction, this was real." The main story forms the second part, where a filmmaker, Jim Finley seeks out a retired war strategist or "defense intellectual" Elster, who has become a recluse in the middle of a desert, in order to persuade him to be the subject of a one-take bio-documentary that objectively tells it as it is. In the blankness of the landscape and uncontained space, the two men form an unusual bond that encompasses Elster's detached daughter, who is sent to her father's by her divorced mother as an attempt to set some distance between her and a dubious suitor. The story resolves, or rather, comes full circle when it reintroduces the anonymous viewer at the same exhibit, where inexplicably, only one day has passed since we last met the viewer, though there are telltale signs that the world of intermediate story intersects with this world, which confuses and enthralls at the same time. Is this part of the slowed down time or is Delillo pushing home the point that time is only relative to our experience?
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul Bowes TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
'Point Omega' is the latest of a group of short novels or novellas that Don DeLillo has published since the appearance of the very long and much admired 'Underworld' in 1997 underlined his claim to be the best living American writer of prose fiction. All four books are short and sparely written; all are haunted by a sense of time running out.

In one reading 'Point Omega' is an existential thriller about a disappearance, perhaps a murder. In another, a warning about the dangers of looking into the abyss. In a third, it is a meditation on cultural and psychic exhaustion.

DeLillo takes an idea of Teilhard de Chardin's - the 'omega point' of absolute concentration of information and communication towards which de Chardin believed mankind was being drawn - and inverts it. The book presents an alternative to the view of technological optimists who believe in an evolution of human consciousness towards a 'singularity' - a takeoff point beyond which humanity will begin to transcend its limitations. In DeLillo's dark parable, complexity and selfconsciousness, ever-finer attention to ever-greater detail, ever-greater knowledge, lead over an event horizon into a black hole of solipsism and ultimate insignificance. For one of the central characters, human beings want to become stones again, giving up the burden of consciousness.

As a long-time admirer, I expected to enjoy 'Point Omega', but I hadn't expected it to be so good. The book is beautifully written, in what I suppose we are obliged to call DeLillo's late manner. There is nothing flashy here, and the opening section demands a little patience as the author conceals his intentions. But there is a plain continuity of thought with earlier novels - particularly 'End Zone' and 'The Names' - that makes it very much a part of DeLillo's distinctive artistic achievement. On this showing, 'late' DeLillo still has a lot to offer.
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By Seth Burkett on 30 April 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I often find DeLillo's work dull and hard to digest. Having read the blurb I expected an action-packed, fast-paced novel. I didn't get it. It was only when I was mulling over the book having finished it that I truly appreciated the message behind the work. I'd now rate this as my favourite DeLillo novel. Give it a go- if you don't like it then its so short that it doesn't really matter...
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jan Dierckx on 29 May 2010
Format: Paperback
Time is the leading thread of this novel. It tells how it affects people and how people are trying to manipulate Time.

I believe that Don Delillo didn't write a novel but a long poem instead. Not modern poetry but an epos if you will or better: a play from antiquity (both limited in Space and Time). And like a Greek tragedy it has only a few characters: Richard Elster an old scientist and philosopher, Jim Finley a film maker and finally Jessica, the daughter of Richard. The main character is Time.
Richard, gloomy and taciturn. Jim, idealistic and has his head in the clouds. Jessica seems to carry a secret and is a little reclusive.

At the beginning of the novel - as a sort of introduction - an unnamed person (Elster or Finley?) - talks about a video performance at The Museum of Modern Art in New-York-City. The performance is an attempt to reach unlimited Time; The movie 'Psycho' by Alfred Hitchcock is electronically slowed down to full 24 hours. So if you stare for only a short while at the video screen it's as if nothing happens. Almost infinite or unlimited Time.
There are not many visitors to the room of the video-show and they stay only for a minute at the most. The mysterious person who explains to the reader the video performance and the behavior of the public, stays in the dark shadow of the room (Jessica?) and only now and then he/she walks around the room for a while.

Richard Elster and Jim Finley live in a house with a corrugated metal roof above a clapboard exterior and located at the edge of a desert. They only stay for a few weeks. Jim tells Richard that he would like to make a video-film with Richard as the only character. He doesn't have to say or do anything.
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