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on February 23, 2015
Ten early stories by one of my faves.
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on July 19, 2014
Delillo is more well-known for longer works of fiction. His novels are concerned with American life, like “White Noise” and “Falling Man” which addressed the paranoia of modern living as we know it, with its excesses in consumerism and social/political instability, and the threat of terrorism. It culminated in his magnum opus, “Underworld”, which I unfortunately did not finish – it was just too massive and complex a work, though that does not detract from his genius. In between, he has also published shorter works like “Cosmopolis” and “The Body Artist”, which had a more personal feel about them because he cast his lens on a smaller sphere, which had varying results. In his prolific body of work, Delillo maintains his signature taut and terse writing style, which gives an air of emotional detachment, which is yet surprisingly incisive. One would think that the short story form would serve Delillo well, so it is surprising that Delillo does not write more short stories. This is his only collection to date, and it brings together nine pieces published between 1979 to 2011, and yet the span of time between the stories does not give this collection a patchy feel.

That said, the stories are varied in content and concerns. The first one, “Creation” finds a couple trapped at the end of their holiday on an island in the West Indies, and the building tension is set against the calm and peaceful environs of the hotel they keep going back to when yet another flight is cancelled. The turn in the story with the entry of a third character is remarkably insidious and shocking. And yet the reader is correspondingly lulled and then alarmed, which increases the sense of unease. This is especially effective in “Baader-Meinhof”, where a woman finds herself inexplicably thrown into an acquaintance with a fellow visitor at an art gallery, and the new friendship soon spirals out of control.

The characters in these stories are also varied and checkered. But whether they are travellers, university students, nuns or even astronauts, Delillo zeroes in on their disparate personalities in a succinct and illuminating way. In all these stories, people try to connect, whether it is Sister Edgar who tries to reach out to the illusive street urchin Esmeralda in the titular story, or the man who fills his days at the cinemas across town watching movie after movie in “The Starveling”, or the two college friends who imagine a backstory about a hooded stranger they see in the university town in “Midnight in Doestovksy”, and hold on to it with a tenacity that overrides the truth. These characters may fail in their attempts to connect, and the motivations behind their actions less than logical or benevolent, but in each, Delillo writes with such empathy and clarity, that the reader is not only convinced, but spellbound.
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on May 25, 2014
But The Angel Esmerelda is it. The other stories are good, but the title story is a knockout. It is handled so beautifully and main character's emotions and reactions are fascinating to watch. Had to read it 3 times in a row to get all the wisdom and acute observations DeLillo gives the story. He is one of our very best contemporary writers
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Really one story in nine settings. No plot, begining, or end. Just a slice. The sentences are not particularly elegant , other reviews notwithstanding. I did my duty and read one by DeLilo, I doubt I will read more.
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on March 19, 2014
DeLillo produced well written and beautiful short stories. They invite to use imagination to follow into his world and let dreams wander.
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DeLillo's stories are always interesting, a bit off center and deal with unusual fictional scenarios. That said, they are thought-provoking and very well done! Not perfect, but darn good!!! I'd recommend them and will continue to read his work.
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on July 30, 2013
A good sampling of DeLillo's prose, I thought it was a rather poetic group of a stories. The Angel Esmeralda is a classic
slice of European history , culture and life. I think it also reflects towards the American experience abroad and speaks to
our diversity.
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on June 16, 2013
This collection is most powerful if you are familiar with DeLillo's themes. If you are not, this is a good introduction, and will tell you if you want to read the superb novels.
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on June 16, 2013
Some good stories but most are no hum.
I love short stories and look for them, but this collection
just wasn't that much fun to read
If you can't sleep try it, could knock you out...
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on May 16, 2013
The stories in this book are, I believe, DeLillo's first collection of stories. They are only ok. I am actually a fan of his writing, and kind of expected a little more than I got here, but I don't have much bad to say either.
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