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The Dollar Tree

Tobias Jones, 11 December 1997

Hand To Mouth: A Chronicle of Early Failure 
by Paul Auster.
Faber, 436 pp., £15.99, November 1997, 0 571 17149 4
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... the smartest lines in the story, being allowed, for example, to expand on his pet theories about Don Quixote and the difficulties, significantly enough, of representation. ‘Remember: throughout the book Don Quixote is preoccupied by the question of posterity. Again and again he wonders how accurately his chronicler will ...

Khrush in America

Andrew O’Hagan: Khrushchev in America, 8 October 2009

K Blows Top 
by Peter Carlson.
Old Street, 327 pp., £9.99, July 2009, 978 1 905847 30 3
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... you,’ Nixon said at the eighth stop. ‘You never miss a chance to make propaganda.’ ‘I don’t make propaganda,’ Khrushchev said. ‘I tell the truth.’ The matter of truth hangs over Carlson’s book. Whose world was more real? Whose version of history would triumph? The book mimics the moral play-acting of the period, embedding opposing views ...

Modernity’s Undoing

Pankaj Mishra: ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad’, 31 March 2011

A Visit from the Goon Squad 
by Jennifer Egan.
Corsair, 336 pp., £14.99, March 2011, 978 1 78033 028 0
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... and war. The masters of this quintessentially American literature have been Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLillo, prophets of Cold War paranoia, rather than Philip Roth and Jonathan Franzen, or all the chroniclers of the immigrant experience from Henry Roth to Jhumpa Lahiri. Pynchon and DeLillo have had oddly few ...

It’s just a book

Philip Horne, 17 December 1992

Leviathan 
by Paul Auster.
Faber, 245 pp., £14.99, October 1992, 0 571 16786 1
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... on a doomed attempt to fix the chaos with a meaning. This is true again in Leviathan, dedicated to Don DeLillo, where again Walden and Thoreau feature, this time as inspiration for a novelist called Benjamin Sachs, whose dissatisfaction with writing fiction as a way of engaging with the world leads him, via Austerian chains of coincidence, to a campaign ...

Feast of Darks

Christine Stansell: Whistler, 23 October 2003

Whistler, Women and Fashion 
by Margaret MacDonald and Susan Grace Galassi et al.
Yale, 243 pp., £35, May 2003, 0 300 09906 1
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Whistler and His Mother: An Unexpected Relationship 
by Sarah Walden.
Gibson Square, 242 pp., £15.99, July 2003, 1 903933 28 5
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... to account for the picture’s appeal, and here and there tosses in contemporary references – Don DeLillo, Marilyn Monroe – to gesture toward some quintessential Americanness in Whistler. It’s when Walden turns to the paintings themselves that her book comes alive. The restorer turns sleuth, ferreting out secrets: thus the misty indeterminateness ...

Postcolonial Enchantment

Pankaj Mishra: Nadeem Aslam, 7 February 2013

The Blind Man’s Garden 
by Nadeem Aslam.
Faber, 409 pp., £18.99, February 2013, 978 0 571 28791 8
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... attacks of 9/11 provoked some disquieting epiphanies: ‘Our world, parts of our world’, Don DeLillo warned, had ‘crumbled into theirs’, condemning us to live ‘in a place of danger and rage’. Nevertheless the dominant assumption until the 2008 financial crisis was that ‘the dramatic climb of the Dow and the speed of the internet ...

Well, duh

Dale Peck, 18 July 1996

Infinite Jest 
by David Foster Wallace.
Little, Brown, 1079 pp., £17.99, July 1996, 0 316 92004 5
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... John Kennedy Toole, whose A Confederacy of Dunces is a book nearly as bloated as its protagonist; Don DeLillo’s social, um, satires owe more than a little to Pynchon’s work; and in a recent essay in Harper’s magazine the young novelist Jonathan Franzen declares Pynchon a personal hero. David Foster Wallace moves beyond admiration to adulation ...

Flame-Broiled Whopper

Theo Tait: Salman Rushdie, 6 October 2005

Shalimar the Clown 
by Salman Rushdie.
Cape, 398 pp., £17.99, September 2005, 0 224 06161 5
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... on here. My guess is that Rush-die is partly labouring under the strong and difficult influence of Don DeLillo. He exhibits a DeLillo-ish concern with the limousine-borne power-brokers who shape our world, and the secret networks that underlie it. Like many of DeLillo’s ...

There’s Daddy

Michael Wood, 13 February 1992

Flying in to Love 
by D.M. Thomas.
Bloomsbury, 262 pp., £14.99, February 1992, 0 7475 1129 2
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JFK 
directed by Oliver Stone.
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... of pain. Another answer would involve exploring paranoia itself as a symptom, which is what Don DeLillo does in his marvellous novel Libra. For DeLillo Kennedy’s death is not so much a mystery as a catalyst: it provokes a show of the intricate weirdness of American (and no doubt other) life, of the infestation ...

Call It Capitalism

Thomas Jones: Pynchon, 10 September 2009

Inherent Vice 
by Thomas Pynchon.
Cape, 369 pp., £18.99, August 2009, 978 0 224 08948 7
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... by all readers and writers of stories. More fully perhaps than any other novelist, including Don DeLillo, with whom he is so often (and so oddly) paired, Pynchon has explored and exposed the overlap between paranoia and fiction, between the plots imagined or unearthed by conspiracy theorists and the plots of novels, not least because both are ...

Many Andies

Andrew O’Hagan, 16 October 1997

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes 
by Andy Warhol.
Bulfinch Press, 35 pp., $10.95, May 1997, 0 8212 2319 4
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Style, Style, Style 
by Andy Warhol.
Bulfinch Press, 30 pp., $10.95, May 1997, 0 8212 2320 8
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Who is Andy Warhol? 
edited by Colin MacCabe, Mark Francis and Peter Wollen.
BFI, 162 pp., £40, May 1997, 9780851705880
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All Tomorrow’s Parties: Billy Name’s Photographs of Andy Warhol’s Factory 
by Billy Name.
frieze, 144 pp., £19.95, April 1997, 0 9527414 1 5
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The Last Party: Studio 54, Disco and the Culture of the Night 
by Anthony Haden-Guest.
Morrow, 404 pp., $25, April 1996, 9780688141516
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... funny woman who had appeared in one of his movies. By that time Warhol had come to represent what Don DeLillo has called ‘the revenge of popular culture on those who take it too seriously’. Warhol outlined a new sort of wanting. America is there in his paintings, and the things people wanted – a Coke, a perfection, a quick end – are documented in ...

You are the we of me

Joyce Carol Oates: The Autobiography of Carson McCullers, 2 September 1999

Illumination and Night Glare: The Unfinished Autobiography of Carson McCullers 
edited by Carlos Dews.
Wisconsin, 256 pp., £19.95, September 1999, 0 299 16440 3
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... for more complex and ambitious non-fiction novels by Norman Mailer (The Executioner’s Song) and Don DeLillo (Libra). In the massive, magisterial The Best American Short Stories of the Century edited by John Updike, Flannery O’Connor is included with one of her much anthologised stories, ‘Greenleaf’, while McCullers and Capote are not only ...

What the Public Most Wants to See

Christopher Tayler: Rick Moody, 23 February 2006

The Diviners 
by Rick Moody.
Faber, 567 pp., £12.99, January 2006, 0 571 22946 8
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... arm of American fiction – the tradition of Thomas Pynchon, Robert Coover, William Gaddis and Don DeLillo. That might not sound hard if you think of R&D as a matter of surface effects: pop-cultural references, metafictional gestures, glazed irony and so on. But for Moody (b.1961), as for Jonathan Franzen (b.1959) and David Foster Wallace ...

You and Your Bow and the Gods

Colin Burrow: Murder mysteries, 22 September 2005

A Cultural History of Causality: Science, Murder Novels and Systems of Thought 
by Stephen Kern.
Princeton, 437 pp., £18.95, August 2004, 0 691 11523 0
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... much intelligence or subtlety: ‘These are the motives which this society says matter and they don’t make any sense; I mean, imagine a guy murdering someone over a designer label.’ American Psycho is murder fiction as cultural warning, and if it weren’t so crude it could be called classically satirical: if this motive or appetite in your society ...

What’s wrong with that man?

Christian Lorentzen: Donald Antrim, 20 November 2014

The Emerald Light in the Air: Stories 
by Donald Antrim.
Granta, 158 pp., £12.99, November 2014, 978 1 84708 649 5
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... his strongest affinity to a writer in the previous generation is to Donald Barthelme, not Don DeLillo; he’s the least likely to be topical, to dramatise a few years’ close reading of the New York Times, to set down anti-capitalist allegories, or to moralise at all; he gives theory no quarter; his world is the darkest; he’s the last one ...

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