- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 6 hours and 16 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: November 15, 2011
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0067UT512
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Angel Esmeralda: Nine Stories Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
There are numerous themes in these stories, but the one that grabbed me most was a recurring one-sided way in which characters in the stories bridge the gulf between their own inner lives and those of other people, where they have only the external marks as evidence -- the way they walk, the expressions on their faces, the clothes they wear.
Delillo's characters often encounter each other through this kind of opaque externality, never directly interacting in conversation but constructing whole narratives of familiarity from the barest hints and great leaps of surmise. Leo Zhelezniak in The Starveling, follows, even stalks, a woman who seems to share his own alienated lifestyle, spending their days going from theatre to theatre in New York, watching movies in sequences coordinated with travel times and subway routes. He comes to "know" so much about her without ever talking to her, that he can cross the gulf between them on this bridge he's built entirely on his own, as if the familiarity and shared experience of life he has constructed is really there.
It's something we all do, just not so starkly as Zhelezniak, or the characters in Midnight in Dostoevsky who construct the life of "the man in the hooded coat". We have our daily encounters with one another, and we build our understandings of each other on what, in the full scope of our lives, are really only glimpses. But it is how we understand each other.
It's all a fragility that miraculously holds together, like the highway traffic Jerold Bradway watches in Hammer and Sickle. "Why don't they crash all the time?" he asks, watching cars speeding by under the separate control of distracted drivers, with little actual communication or coordination between them. Like Zhelezniak and other characters in these stories, Bradway looks at the drivers, wondering who they are and where they are going. And at the same time he thinks at least some of them are looking at him, wondering the same things.
When I read White Noise a long time ago, I thought it was one of the best novels I'd ever read. Since then I've made a point of reading everything I could get my hands on by Don Delillo. This is very different, but one of his best, I think.
L/C Ratio: 80/20
(This means I estimate the author devoted 80% of his effort to creating a literary work of art and 20% of his effort to creating a commercial bestseller.)
40% - Cultural exploration
30% - Investigation of the human condition
30% - Crumbling of society
When people ask about my favorite authors, Don DeLillo is always on the list (even though all that really means is that I read White Noise in college and thought it was awesome). Right now he's one of the few writers who has earned automatic purchase status - meaning I buy every new book of his without thinking twice.
Nothing against the short story format, but I came into The Angel Esmeralda with limited expectations. The book is a collection of nine stories, spanning 30+ years of DeLillo's career. There are no particularly memorable characters or plots to discover, as the stories feel more like sketches or vignettes than fully-formed narratives.
If you enjoyed 2010's Point Omega, then The Angel Esmeralda is certainly worth a read. The combination of sharpness and depth distinguishes DeLillo's writing and reminds you why he is one of the kings of contemporary fiction.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The title story is just a chapter from his giant novel 'Underworld', and that work has already been as critically...Read more