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Great Jones Street (Contemporary American Fiction) Paperback – January 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Series: Contemporary American Fiction
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (January 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140179178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140179170
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #647,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Brilliant...deeply shocking...looks at rock music, nihilism and urban decay." --Diane Johnson, The New York Review of Books

"Luminous...finally, a novel that understands rock and roll!" --Jon Pareles, The Village Voice Literary Supplement

About the Author

Don DeLillo published his first short story when he was twenty-three years old. He has since written twelve novels, including White Noise (1985) which won the National Book Award. It was followed by Libra (1988), his novel about the assassination of President Kennedy, and by Mao II, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

In 1997, he published the bestselling Underworld, and in 1999 he was awarded the Jerusalem Prize, given to a writer whose work expresses the theme of the freedom of the individual in society; he was the first American author to receive it. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


More About the Author

Don DeLillo is the author of fourteen novels, including Falling Man, Libra and White Noise, and three plays. He has won the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the Jerusalem Prize. In 2006, Underworld was named one of the three best novels of the last twenty-five years by The New York Times Book Review, and in 2000 it won the William Dean Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters for the most distinguished work of fiction of the past five years.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Daniel M. Conley on April 25, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Read the first page of Great Jones Street and you might think you've stumbled across a new DeLillo novel about Kurt Cobain. "Perhaps the only natural law attaching to true fame is that the famous man is compelled, eventually, to commit suicide," DeLillo writes, with eerie foresight.
Unfortunately for contemporary readers, that Cobain imagery is likely to stick with you throughout this 1973 novel and become a distraction. Bucky Wunderlick, DeLillo's rock idol, is neither as tortured or talented as Cobain. As other critics have noted, his lyrics are awful. DeLillo doesn't have an ear for rock lyrics (or at least didn't in the early 70s.)
Like Running Dog, Great Jones Street is a great premise and an awkward delivery. DeLillo had yet to develop his signature style of putting subtext before story. He also hadn't developed his micro-detail style of painting an environment, which he used to such brilliant effect in describing the supermarket in "White Noise" and the Bronx of his youth in "Underworld." What we're left with is conventional dialogue-and-plot story telling -- which is what DeLillo has always done worst.
If you've read the masterworks of the DeLillo canon -- Ratner's Star, The Names, White Noise, Libra, Mao II and Underworld -- Great Jones Street is a worthwhile diversion. If you haven't read DeLillo's best, come back when you're done.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By metheb on November 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
GREAT JONES STREET is a novel set in the 70's that is as relevant now as when it was first published. The main character - an AWOL rock musician - with shades of Dylan or Lennon attempts to escape the life of celebrity only to find his disappearing act, in mid tour, has made him that much more an enigma, raising the torch of his celebrity. With the much publicized saga of the late Kurt Cobain, an artist drained by commerce and ultimately destroyed by it, GREAT JONES STREET forshadows the struggle of artists within the system of commerce and capitalism of the United States. It is a novel about fame, and commerce, and the rights of the individual in society whether they be famous or not. It doesn't have the taught language of UNDERWORLD or the magnificent LIBRA but it is worth the time. A definite precursor to the grand themes of LIBRA, Delillo's finest novel.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 16, 1996
Format: Paperback
I have read all of Don Delillo's novels and Great Jones Street stands among my favorites. Although many of his works are ultimately best described as "dark" (such as Mao II and Libra), Great Jones Street reveals Delillo's surreal comedic edge as he mocks the music industry (among other subjects). Like most of Delillo's works, this book is ultimately about a journey, but in Great Jones Street the path is laden with both subtle and not-so-subtle humor
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on April 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
General consensus has that this is one of Delillo's lesser novels and I really can't disagree. However, I don't think it's completely terrible either, it's short and has enough passages to recommend at least a quick reading of it. One of his early works from the 70s, it involves rock star Bucky who suddenly decides he doesn't want to be a rock star anymore and goes into seclusion, with all kind of rumors swirling about him. People constantly visit him and try to convince him to come back and he gives them evasive answers and flatout denials. Meanwhile, other stuff happens. And that's pretty much the plot. You can see why some people aren't exactly fond of this one. For a certified rock star, you don't really get much of a sense of Bucky as a musician, which may make sense since he's given all that up, but even when people describe what his band plays, you can't quite see how he would have become so ridiculously famous as he apparently is. It doesn't help that, as others have noted, Delillo cannot write rock lyrics to save his life at this point in time. Some chapters are comprised entirely of snippets from his songs, and it proves that Delillo was right to go into prose writing and not help out King Crimson or anything. But those don't bother me too much since I just skim the lyrics and move on to chapters with people talking. I'm not sure where Delillo was actually going with this story, he seems to be trying to do a cross-section of life in NYC, and then at other times he's attempting to satirize the culture and examine the rock and roll lifestyle. But in trying to do all of that, he really doesn't succeed in really dissecting any of them. The plot, for what it's worth, mostly consists of Bucky sitting in his apartment either talking to his neighbors, or to the people visiting him.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
A most ingeniously constructed novel existing in a space defined by the coordinates of drugs, rock'n roll and Wittgenstienian metaphysics of language. Uncannily predictive with respect to the grunge scene, with characters reminiscent of William Burroughs and Kurdt Cobain. Both poetic and funny, rigorously structured and artistically detailed.
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Format: Paperback
Let's start with this: the lyrics that DeLillo writes for Bucky Wunderlich, I mean Wunderlick are just short of pathetic. But let's own up to this too: most rock 'n' roll lyrics look faintly ridiculous on the page. You can print Dylan maybe, but hardly anybody else. If you think I'm kidding, take out your liner notes from your favorite album and read them to a friend. Too embarrassed to finish? My point exactly.
I am prejudiced by my own New York history, but I think that this is a fairly successful novel about life in the city at the end of the sixties. (The sixties, you know weren't really over until the late 70's). Some of the characters-Michelle for example-are merely talky standins for the author. Globke, on the other hand may be the author in his weakest moments and that's a lot of fun to speculate upon.
Finally, the end of the book with its vague messianic suggestions is one of the finest epitaph for its era. Maybe, it says, just maybe we have all gone off to some other place to perform acts of kindness and good will. Maybe we stopped chasing and started changing.

It's a hopeful little idea and a hopeful little book.
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