“Point Omega”: A review of Don DeLillo’s latest novel

The latest short novel from award-winning author Don DeLillo is an interesting study of our present day world and the realities that people create to fit what the situation calls for. DeLillo is in tune with the vagaries of the modern world where society has grown accustomed to having news constantly made available and to have governments and media outlets constructing their own versions of reality.

The story revolves around a young documentary director who is hoping to shoot a film on an intellectual who worked at a think tank that created a lot of the spin necessary to produce a recent war. He visits his subject at a home in the southwestern desert that is occasionally used by Richard Elster (the intellectual.) Elster’s writing and work for the administration is broken down into simple components and he likes to consider his statements regarding war policy as thoughts that fit into simple haikus.

Notions of what is real, not real or real only in our minds, permeate the novel. The filmmaker only planned on staying for a couple of days but ends up staying for a month. Elster’s twenty-something daughter Jessie, with her own ambivalent life enters into the story and the filmmaker is soon attracted to her. The daughter eventually vanishes into the Arizona desert and the two men attempt to locate her with the authorities.

A thread that is followed throughout the book is the film director’s observation and obsession with an art exhibit in New York that shows the Alfred Hitchcock suspense thriller Psycho – but in a manner in which the film is slowed down so it takes 24 hours to view the entire film. The filmmaker meets a young woman at the film who he is attracted to – in fact he follows her out of the theater and they have some disjointed, ambivalent conversation. His attraction to this woman and to Jessie seems to be borne out of his frustration with his own so-so marriage and with his desire to connect with real people.

Point Omega is a quick read that takes a long time to absorb. DeLillo’s prose points towards many issues of the modern citizen of the world – issues of communication, feelings, space, time, distance and of being accustomed to finding all of life’s needs at your fingertips on a moments notice. DeLillo is acutely aware that people are often lost and need to connect with real people and not just in a fabricated, media driven social network that has consumed the way many people exist.

NOTE: I am an avid reader – not an avid literary critic!

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One Response to ““Point Omega”: A review of Don DeLillo’s latest novel”

  1. Larry Davis Says:

    Mike,

    I enjoyed your review. I read a quick review in Entertainment Weekly, but you have done the book justice here.

    It looks as though DeLillo has put his finger on something profound in the novel. The type of free-floating world we live in where “truth” is nothing more than spin (political or otherwise) seems to be what he’s trying to get a handle on. I’m wondering how we get back in touch with each other outside the new digital “reality” that surrounds us.

    Larry

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