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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 5 September 2013
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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 7 February 2012
'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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on 28 December 2015
Note to the publishers, putting "A Novel" under the title of a novella does not make it a novel.

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.
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on 30 April 2014
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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on 16 June 2016
This book takes the novel to a new level. It is very sophisticated and very adult. It does not use a traditional story arc, instead leaving so much to the reader's own interpretation. But I can highly recommend it for readers who want to be treated as grown ups.
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on 29 May 2010
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. This way a parallel is made between the video performance and the real life at the edge of the desert. Here too Jim Finley searches for unlimited Space and Time. But this peaceful situation can't go on for ever. Sooner or later real life will stand at your front door.

One day Jessica visits her father Richard. She stays for a few days. One day she disappears without leaving a trace (literally). No footprints in the dust, no tire tracks, nothing. She vanished into thin air. Maybe she was never there in the first place, she could be a ghost or a hallucination.
When all is said and done we die. We reach the final checkpoint, Point Omega. We become matter and the curtain falls

Talking about poetry: this is the last sentence from 'Point Omega',

" Sometimes a wind comes before the rain and sends birds sailing past the window, spirit birds that ride the night, stranger than dreams."
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on 9 May 2010
With each new work from Don DeLillo I find myself asking the same question - 'Is it as good as White Noise?' I realise that this is the wrong question to ask, and to frame my response in these terms seems faintly absurd. But I do it anyway.

Point Omega is DeLillo's fifteenth novel (or, perhaps, his first novella), and is not as good as White Noise. It is, however, an exhilarating performance, one that maintains the creative surge of Falling Man and one that is a vital addition to his oeuvre.

It's deceptively slight, but all of DeLillo's career-long preoccupations are present. I guess you could also say that it's about the Iraq war, and the long shadow this misadventure has cast. Richard Elster was the academic hired by the Pentagon to 'map the reality' the US government tried to create, to 'freshen the dialogue, broaden the viewpoint'. But Elster's story remains elusive - we never quite hear what has forced his retreat to the desert. But then perhaps we already know.

DeLillo's mastery of the language is also, as ever, a real joy - there is an extended riff on the shifting nature of 'rendition', moments where we are destabilised by his choice of words ('lighted' is preferred to 'lit'), and sentences you just wish you could have written yourself (random thoughts are described as 'small dull smears of meditative panic').
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on 27 April 2010
This short novel is up there with DeLillo's best. The sparse prose carries great philosophical weight and the author really does help you to see the world differently. He seems to get right inside human consciousness. He's also dryly funny, too.

Perhaps not the ideal DeLillo starting point, but a great book nonetheless.

I'm curious to know who else, if anyone, is writing at this level?
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on 3 March 2015
Very pleased with purchase. As described. Many thanks
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VINE VOICEon 27 June 2010
On the title page the words "A Novel" follow on from "Point Omega". This seems an almost willful act of confrontation. Point Omega is not a novel, it's barely a novella, maybe even a long short story. But maybe it's length is as much a deliberate comment on the themes of the book as the words contained within.

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.

There are very few contemporary writers who can tackle subjects with such clarity and focus, and then delineate their thoughts with such precise prose.

So, it's a short book, but it doesn't matter. It says just what it needs to say in order to be effective.
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