A stunning piece of writing. DeLillo takes on the weighty topics of language, culture, history and society and somehow comes up with a fascinating thriller. His dry, perfectly phrased sentences are surprisingly funny and a joy to read. Best living American author?
DeLillo is the patient archeologist, brushing away the dust to reveal a rich and intertextual narrative which explores the landscapes of history, philosophy, morality and religion. Yet in all this the author reserves the right not to judge his characters, but to observe and contextualise; the upshot being a thickening in the sauce of the stories mysteries and a deepening of focus away from plot, to character, subtext and setting. With the precision of a brain surgeon (where so many authors are gynecologists) DeLillo dissects the souls of his characters in all their complexity and absurdity. Like the ancient alphabets which the story deals with, DeLillo has carved a haunting mythology which will outlive us all. The Names is a historical lament for our time which will continue to be read in a far away future.
Don DeLilo is a terrific author, and this is an intriguing and complex novel. However I am writing this review in order to complain about Amazon's service. This was one of three books I ordered in a batch from Amazon. They were poorly packaged and all were damaged in some way. This is the third time this has happened this year. I complained and got no response. Very poor delivery, very poor customer service. Is it beyond Amazon to adequately package books?