Thursday, May 5, 2011
Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo -- Flo's View
Many people have commented, and we have also noticed, that one of the fun things about having multiple people adminster a book blog is that there are lots of differences of opinion that lead to good discussions.
Back in March, Mary read and reviewed Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo. She loved it! (And not just because she knew that Robert Pattinson was going to play the main character in the upcoming movie.) After hearing that she gave it 5 out of 5 stars, I made it a point to experience the book for myself. I downloaded the audiobook and...
I really didn't like it, y'all. I didn't.
First, and I fully realize this about myself, I have trouble liking books where I don't either like or at least sympathize with the main character. I didn't like Eric. I even tried picturing him as Rob, and that didn't work! I could in no way relate to how his mind worked, how he saw the world. I think his lack of big reactions to big events also didn't sit well with me. All this crazy stuff is happening and he's just sitting there wondering about the use of ATMs or something random. The man reading the audiobook had a very soporific voice which only helped to emphasis Eric's lack of emotion.
Second, and this blends with the first, is the stream of consicousness style of writing. Eric not only experiences random things; he thinks random things, and we, the reader, get to follow his mental roller coaster. Except it's not really a roller coaster, because as I said before he does not seem to have a wide range of emotion. So it's like a mental winding road. For example (and I'm just giving an example here and not taking something from the actual book), Eric might notice that someone is one their cell phone. And his thoughts will go something like this (again, remember I'm making up an example):
A man walked by on his cell phone. Cell phones. What are cell phones really? Big or little pieces of plastic? Are they even relevant anymore? Why do people talk differently into cell phones than into microphones?
You get the idea. And he did that ALL THE TIME. Throughout the entire book. And -- I'm gonna say it -- it annoyed the crap out of me! I was even describing this aspect of the book to a friend last week and she said, "Oh wow, it was really like that?" She could see and understand my frustration.
Finally, and again this is personal preference, I didn't like it because this is a story that's not really a story. There wasn't really a plotline. I mean, yes, it's about Eric on the way to get a haircut. But that's one event, it's not a story. I've never seen Napolean Dynamite, but I have heard that there's not really a story to that movie either, and that's what I think about when I consider Cosmopolis.
We are super curious to hear your comments on this book! Did you love it like Mary or hate it like Flo? Are you somewhere in between? If you haven't read it, do you want to?
And, as the fates would have it, we have an extra copy of Cosmopolis to give away to one lucky commenter.