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|Print List Price:||£7.99|
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Point Omega Kindle Edition
|Length: 132 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
De Lillo can write really nicely and many parts of this reminded me of Coetzee and Auster. I enjoyed the way the desert captures the sense of other worldliness and isolation and how it plays with our concept of time. The heat and daze of the desert acting like some insidious drug that slowly bleeds into your mind, along with the hard liquor inducing a languid, borderline surreal head space. I started to get quite engrossed in this story as it slowly built in the desert but then it just seemed to peter out. I found it too short and this did leave me wanting more and I felt frustrated by the unresolved nature of the ending.
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?
It is an ostensibly simple premise.
A filmmaker, Jim Finley, visits an old man, Richard Elster, in a house in a desert, to convince him to be the subject of his latest film. The old man was an advisor in the Iraq war, a scholar not a warrior, whose job it was to form an intellectual frame work for the war. Finley stays with Elster for a number of days and they talk deeply. Elster's daughter, Jessie, visits and then abruptly vanishes.
This story is bookended by scenes of a man (probably Finley, but this is never disclosed) obsessively viewing an art installation called '24 hour Psycho', which slows down the Hitchcock film so that it lasts for exactly 24 hours.
And that is it.
But what you get in this intense and deeply affecting piece of writing is a study of the nature of time; how it affects us as humans, how our concept of time is affected by our locations, and ultimately how we use use our time on Earth.
DeLillo also looks at the purpose of art, and in particular film, as a medium to discuss the frailty of human existence. In this way Point Omega references his earlier short story Baader Meinhof. In themes and style it is reminiscent of his early novels such as White Noise. This is not the indulgent, wide reaching DeLillo of Underworld. This is a writer taking one specific point and using all his creative faculties to produce something crystalline.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Although you could finish this book in a day (it's only 117 pages), it contains the same hauntingly real plots and characters that Delillo is famous for, and leaves you with a... Read morePublished on 6 Dec. 2013 by Amazon Customer
This is a terrible, terrible book: self-indulgent, pretentious, without meaning or explanation and largely without action or incident. Its sole plus point is its length. Read morePublished on 28 Jun. 2012 by Simon Collier
I sometimes struggle with Delillo's work, but Point Omega is relatively easy going and a pleasure to read (preferably twice). Read morePublished on 25 May 2012 by Matt
Time is the leading thread of this novel. It tells how it affects people and how people are trying to manipulate Time. Read morePublished on 29 May 2010 by Jan Dierckx
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