“Cosmopolis” by Don DeLillo (Scribner, 2003)


This is my second attempt with Don DeLillo, the first being last year’s The Body Artist, and having read Cosmopolis, I still don’t know what all the fuss is about this guy.  Maybe it’s an “East Coaster” thing, for the guy just doesn’t impress me much.  He’s the kind of author who attempts to use long words, complex run-on sentence, and go off on long and boring tangents which really have no bearing on the novel, and any real meaning or truth to offer the reader.

Cosmopolis is about a really rich guy who decided that he doesn’t want to have his barber come to his skyscraper with his huge office to cut his hair.  Instead he’s going to take the limo across New York to have the barber cut his hair at his shop.  As Mr. Rich attempts to cross town, the president is at the same time coming through with his vast motorcade, and has his life threatened by an assassin.  So traffic essentially slows to a complete crawl, while Mr. Rich comfortably travels in his limo.

Along the way, for some reason (probably because he’s that rich!), he gets out of the car and meets people he knows, has sex with wives, ex-wives, and “little bits on the side” in their car and their apartment, and all this stuff happens while he is trying to get to the barber shop; essentially about a rich guy using his riches.

So if you would like to read about what it would be like to be so rich that you can get and do absolutely anything you want, read Cosmopolis, and get lost in long sentences that lead you into endless cul-de-sacs.

Originally published on May 12th, 2003 ©Alex C. Telander.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.