ISBN: 0743244257
ISBN 13: 9780743244251
By: Don DeLillo

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About this book

It is an April day in the year 2000 and an era is about to end -- those booming times of market optimism when the culture boiled with money and corporations seemed more vital and influential than governments.Eric Packer, a billionaire asset manager at age twenty-eight, emerges from his penthouse triplex and settles into his lavishly customized white stretch limousine. On this day he is a man with two missions: to pursue a cataclysmic bet against the yen and to get a haircut across town.His journey to the barbershop is a contemporary odyssey, funny and fast-moving. Stalled in traffic by a presidential motorcade, a music idol's funeral and a violent political demonstration, Eric receives a string of visitors -- his experts on security, technology, currency, finance and theory. Sometimes he leaves the car for sexual encounters and sometimes he doesn't have to.Cosmopolis, Don DeLillo's thirteenth novel, is both intimate and global, a vivid and moving account of a spectacular downfall.“DeLillo’s most affecting novel yet...A dazzling, phosphorescent work of art.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times“The clearest vision yet of what it felt like to live through that day.” —Malcolm Jones, Newsweek“A metaphysical ghost story about a woman alone…intimate, spare, exquisite.” —Adam Begley, The New York Times Book Review“A brilliant new novel....Don DeLillo continues to think about the modern world in language and images as quizzically beautiful as any writer.” — San Francisco Chronicle

Reader's Thoughts


الرواية فى نقد الرأسمالية وحضارة التكنولوجيا الرقمية فى عماءها، والتضخم الهزلى والمتسارع للثروة لمجرد حيازة أكبر نسبة من الأرقام بعيدا عن قيمتها المادية ولكن القيمة المعنوية التى تعطى السلطة لحاملهاقرأتها بترجمة "أسامة منزلجى" والتى لم أجد أى بيانات لها فى طبعة عربية، وأظن أنها نشرت إلكترونيا مسلسلة فى مجلة "أوكسجين" الإلكترونية..وهذا رابط البى دى اف:علما بأن الرواية تحوّلت إلى فيلم هذا العام ينتظر عرضه فى سبتمبر من إخراج المخرج الكندى ديفيد كروننبرج


Dellilo's New York limo ride flows well enough through the first half of the book. The premise allows itself to open an array of bizzare situations: a billionaire twenty-something want to ride in his suped-up stretch limo to get a haircut. On the way he has encounters with lovers, ex-lovers, and advisors in matters of technology, finance, security, and theory. Dellilo's prose is highly restrained with limited, but rich descriptions of neighborhoods that unfold through the eyes of billionaire Eric. There are some truly original hilarious subversive instances where Eric displays his detatchment from society such as when he makes sexual advances to a female executive while getting a prostate exam in his back seat (No pun intended).As allegory, it holds up; the plot itself fails to hold up at times though because of the limited style he chooses with certain situations. The female characters blend into non-memorable hybrids of slut-artist-vixen-heiress-mystic. In a style very reminiscent of Chuck Palahnuik ('Fight Club') Eric's journey unfolds as his own deathmarch which Eric is all too willing to accept. The social critique is clear enough: the market culture is tainting our humanity and the democracy as corporate-kleptocracy will test what is left of it. Delillo delivers in 'Cosmopolis'. I only wish that his characterization was as substantial as every thing else in his novel.


This book is very different to anything i've read before. The prose is sometimes mind-bending and at times can be hard to follow but it's because Eric Packer thinks like no one else. He doesn't see the world as most people do -he breaks things down into minutiae - where we might count things in minutes or seconds, Eric sees in septillionths of seconds.. because of this he is hyper aware, hyper maniacal in some instances, and generally ahead of the game. He lives in a corporate world, driven by numbers and information."Because time is a corporate asset now."He is playing the game from the back seat of his limo as he traverses the city, aiming to get to a point of meaning, all the while something lurks in the shadows. I really enjoyed this book but it wont be to everyone's taste.


From this 2012 vantage point, Cosmopolis from 2003 seems dated like a horse and carriage. Bringing humanity to the wealthy is just not the fashion, and this spiritual awakening of Patrick Bateman was fun then, but weirdly irrelevant right now, in the era of the Pruis and the hostility towards the "1%." Although Eric was never really meant to be an everyman hero, he really really really is not one now. This book was fabulously written (hookers have "duck butts" as they leave for home in the morning), but the crash and burn of this wealthy all-knowing rich fellow is just meh. The audience is not me, perhaps, as women are (as always) reduced to allegory and sex acts, exclusively. I couldn't feel the feelings. And to address the movie, Cronenberg is giving this whole thing a weird approach. The trailer for the film makes it look a Bourne movie, not really a hyper-emotional thinker. Titties, gunfire, and riots; these are things that don't really punctuate the plot of the book. Yes, college-aged fanboys and R Patz diehards will attend and pick up the book in masses. But how boring! A rich person's crazy adventure! This is "Baby's Day Out" for a new generation of men!


En ‘Cosmópolis’ asistimos durante un día a la vida de un perdedor, Eric Packer. Lo curioso es que Eric es un multimillonario dedicado a las altas finanzas, que pese a su juventud, lo tiene todo, siendo además de los que deciden el futuro de otros mediante sus inversiones y especulaciones. En este día en concreto, Eric se levanta por la mañana con dos ideas en la cabeza: arriesgar todo su dinero a que el yen japonés no subirá, y cortarse el pelo.Durante esta larga jornada, Eric viajará en su limusina por toda Nueva York camino de su peluquero, encontrándose con múltiples personajes y situaciones. En su amplia limusina tienen lugar los encuentros más dispares, ya que parece que Eric tenga más vida en ella que en su propia casa. Pero Eric no viaja solo en su aventura joyceana, le acompañan varios guardaespaldas, y es que su vida está amenazada. Todo ello bajo el telón de fondo de la visita del presidente a la ciudad, el entierro de un conocido cantante, el rodaje de una película… que dificultan el viaje de la limusina entre el denso tráfico. Por cierto, que David Cronenberg está realizando la adaptación al cine de esta novela. El material se adapta a lo que ha sido hasta ahora su filmografía, pero ya veremos.‘Cosmópolis’ es una reflexión de los tiempos que corren, deshumanizada, donde DeLillo trata temas como el terrorismo, la globalización o la alienación del individuo, con un Eric Packer en su particular descenso a los infiernos, paranoico, inteligente, dominado por su ego, que tiene sexo cuando y donde quiere.La prosa de DeLillo es directa y lúcida, como siempre, capaz de dar en el clavo con cada una de sus observaciones. Pese a ello, DeLillo es un escritor que no llega a calarme del todo, pero aun así sus novelas siempre resultan interesantes y con grandes destellos de calidad. -He leído un poema en el que una rata se convierte en moneda de curso legal.-Pues sí, sería interesante –dijo Chin.-Desde luego. Tremendo impacto en la economía mundial.-Ya sólo por el nombre… Mucho mejor que el dong o la kwacha.-El nombre lo es todo.-Sí. La rata –dijo Chin.-Sí. Hoy la rata ha cerrado por debajo del euro.-Sí. Existe una preocupación creciente de que la rata rusa se devalúe.-Ratas blancas. Piénsalo.-Sí. Ratas preñadas.-Eso. Liquidación en masa de ratas rusas preñadas.-Gran Bretaña entra en la zona rata –dijo Chin.-Eso mismo. Se suma a la lógica tendencia de adoptar una única unidad de cambio universal.-Sí. Estados Unidos establece la unidad rata.-Eso. Cada dólar estadounidense será canjeable por su valor en ratas.-Ratas muertas.-Eso. El acopio de reservas de ratas muertas se tiene por una amenaza contra la salud mundial.

Pamela W

Listened to this on audio during the commute and found the reader's voice really grating. Main character? Creepy and hateful, but not in a provocative way. More annoying. I don't generally enjoy reading (or listening) to lengthy soliloquies that are just excuses for phrases/random analogies or waxing on life's headier ponderances. Sounded forced, not ---ophical (insert prefix of choice). I wanted to perpetrate violence by the end of this story time, and I don't mean riotous/life-affirming violence but just cold, gangsta ass-kicking. In a word...huh?


Nutshell: one-percenter gets haircut, an event worthy of 200 pages.The less looney toons sibling of American Psycho (“the logical extension of business is murder“ (113)), this text, contrary to my intentions, was not necessarily the correct one to brainbleach the Ayn Rands that I’d read immediately prior hereto--though her mantra regarding self-made industrialists, who nevertheless are heirs to massive fortunes, is given mock heroic treatment here as “self made,” “ruthless,” “strong,” “brilliant” (72).Slick colloquy on chrematistics, “the art of money-making” (77), an odd phrase, as though currency were created ex nihilo, in a randian fantasy, by the mere intellect of the industrialist. Therein we see that “money has lost its narrative quality” (id.), which readers of Marx will recognize as the always already absent presence of repressed political relations inherent in currency, via operation of commodity fetishism. We see that “clock time accelerated the rise of capitalism“ (79), and “it’s cyber-capital that creates the future” via transactions at intervals of yoctoseconds (79): “time is a corporate asset now. It belongs to the free market system. The present is harder to find. It is being sucked out of the world to make way for the future of uncontrolled markets and huge investment potential” (id.). Part of the process is the integration of protests against capitalism into its structure: protesters “don’t exist outside the market. There is nowhere they can go to be on the outside. There is no outside” (90). The protest itself is a “form of systemic hygiene, purging and lubricating” (99). When a protestor intentionally self-immolates, dumb cappy grover dill can only complain “it’s not original,” “an appropriation” (100)--a nice emblem of the proto-fascism described by Herf in Reactionary Modernism regarding insistent “authenticity,” which emblem reiterates here: “To pull back now would not be authentic. It would be a quotation from other people’s lives” (85).Noted as “the hallmark of capitalist thought” is “enforced destruction” (92), a spectre from Benjamin’s ninth thesis on the philosophy of history: “old industries have to be harshly eliminated. New markets have to be forcibly claimed. Old markets have to be re-exploited. Destroy the past, make the future,” apt reference to capitalism’s continuous process of revolutionizing the means of production (92-93). Recommended for persons undead living in a state of occult repose, waiting to be reanimated, those driven by thinking machines that they have no final authority over, and persons with asymmetrical prostates.

Michael Seidlinger

What? Huh? Okay?These are not indications of confusion. I completely absorbed Cosmopolis and experienced every facet of the near-novella. Given that, I must question the entire purpose of this piece. It certainly provides an ample-enough lens for American excess, disaffection, and dislocation... but I'm not sure it goes anywhere beyond the "image" of this particular portrayal.I need a haircut too... but unlike the rich, I either cut it myself or drive the 1.2 miles to a Hair Cuttery and make it happen.


Poetry pours from Cosmopolis, a sweaty rut of discourse and images about the nature of power in our world. Delillo is prescient and impactful, but he's always been, hasn't he? The protagonist finds obsoletion everywhere and the reader cringes, suddenly questioning their own utility. The ending proved blurred but effective. I sense the message within. The dedication to Paul Auster was intriguing as well. I may see the film now.


Althought set in April of 2000, the novel Cosmopolis ( the story has a very spaceship glow to it; the gadgetry the narrator describes in Ellisian detail...the rocketship limo, the android guards with names Torval...the voice-activated weaponry) seems more a prophecy of here and now (or, yes, even six months in the future) than a satire of pre-9/11 excesses that, well, kind of got us into the whole 9/11 fix.Eric Packer speaks in enigmaticisms - beautiful enigmaticisms - and his calls are often answered with similiarly wrought hooks and phrases by his trusted group of advisors. Still, Packer is what the kids these days call a douche. And, I'm certain, there are many out there who, after the past six months, have kindled a certain hatred towards anybody who dabbles in money, stylizes themselves as a financial warrior: thus Eric Packer is the perfect lamb for the sacrifice in this Age of Bailout.

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

Like every DeLillo novel I've read so far (which isn't a lot; this is the 3rd), this one was well written, often brilliantly written, completely different from anything else by him I've read, and somehow left me subtly dissatisfied.A hyperkinetic novel that reads like something penned by the lovechild of two Williams, Burroughs and Gibson, it veers between the former's breathless philosophical and sexual pomp and the latter's endless obsession with surface, with data and with pattern.A day in the life of a ridiculously wealthy man who has made a fortune successfully predicting currency market trends. He cruises around town in his limo, having sex with his female aides and sharing obscenely cyberchic conversations with his male aides, apart from his main bodyguard whom he hardly talks to at all aside from killing him before heading out to face a high-risk assassination threat solo. Along the way, he has random encounters with a wife he hardly seems to know and also pisses away his entire fortune by betting against a steadily rising Yen.There's little character logic here, just a roller-coaster ride through how DeLillo imagines a billionaire-whizkid getting long in the tooth at 29 might live and work and think, with sundry speculations on the outdated origins of common terms for gadgets ('ATM' with its embedded memory of that archaic thing, the teller, or the childish rhyme of 'walky-talky'), throwaway cool-sounding aphorisms and the standard trappings of a novel telegraphing how contemporary it is - a rave party in a gutted theatre, the funeral of a Sufi rapper (what frightens me most is that Sufi trap is a musical trend as inevitable as it will be deeply repugnant), a hi-tech limo stuffed with the latest info-devices, a voice-operated gun and so on and so forth. Is the protagonist's quest for a haircut, which eventually leads him to his father's old neighbourhood and a confrontation with mortality some sort of wish to regress to childhood and further back to a time before he was born? But didn't he just dismiss Freud (and also Einstein) in the opening pages of the book? What then? Does it mean anything? Dunno. Compulsively readable but hard to interpret or to take very seriously with all that self-conscious bleeding-edge slickness.

Tom Bensley

No, Don DeLillo. I'm not going to give you four stars just because this is a brilliantly written, prophetic and philosophical piece of literature. Yes, there are some quotes and sentences here that I will store in my mind and remember for years. Yes, your prose can be poetic and breathtaking. And yes, this is a highly original work. But you get two stars. And you know why? Because all that great stuff I just mentioned? YOU'RE RAMMING IT DOWN MY THROAT!Cosmopolis tells the story of a rich young man named Eric Packer and his self-destruction. He rides around in a limo, fucks people, observes a riot through his sun roof and talks, talks, talks. The story itself isn't particularly compelling, but Eric Packer is. He's mysterious, uber-intelligent and a total ass. His compelling nature is in his hints at trying to destroying himself. He relishes in seeing the riot so close to his limo, he feels energised when he gets hit in the face with a camera and he loses parts of his fancy suit all over the place. Why is he doing this to himself? What is Eric Packer really like? What will he become? Where will his limo end up? And where will he? These questions drove me to finish the novel, making it worthwhile. But back to my major criticism of the work: DeLillo is a brilliant writer. No doubt. But I don't like him. The novel is full of ultra-profound statements flowery descriptions of mundane actions and the pages seem to sweat with philosophy. My problem with all that, is that I don't enjoy thinking to myself, "Yes, Mr. DeLillo, I see what you have done there, excuse me while I place the book down and applaud softly with an approving eyebrow-raise". The characters are too clearly representational figures and the actions so obviously symbolic that it just becomes exhausting after a while. So, if you don't mind books that are obvious in many of their messages, and you want something nightmarish, cold, philosophical and intellectual, then go ahead and rock Cosmopolis. It's great, just not for me.


an oil-and-water mix of brilliance and over-bearing allegory. the good outweighs the bad. it's amazing that this book was written in 2003, because it ever-so-slightly predates the apex of corporate-greed-entropy in america. it's hard not to see mark zuckerberg in eric packer, the 28-year-old billionaire at the heart of the story. his icy, semi-autistic demeanor, technological zealotry and fascination with the movement of capital calls to mind the facebook guru immediately (they're even the same age as i type this). in the same breath, i'm also reminded of the 2008 financial crisis as packer's downfall unravels... not so much because it's a tragedy, but because it's the logical endgame of a vicious circle of privilege, where the very wealthy get wealthier by moving around other people's money. delillo seems horrified and fascinated by this, and he's quite good at laying out the odd fantasies that produce an eric packer - as well as the culture that's too complicit and solipsistic to bump him off of the gravy train. there's a particularly fatalistic passage in which packer's limo glides through an anarchist uprising that characterizes this perfectly. i'm excited to see what david cronenberg does with it on film. "team edward" could be a smart casting move after all...on the other hand, not all of it works. and parts of cosmopolis feel like an endless string of unlikely non-sequiturs. there's a digression involving a sufi rap star that's almost embarrassingly misguided (delillo has many strengths; inventing rap lyrics isn't one of them), and some of the metaphorical maneuvers are annoyingly self-conscious. but i finished it with plenty of thoughts to untangle in my head, so the bumpy ride was certainly worth it.


** spoiler alert ** After struggling through Cosmopolis: A Novel by Don DeLillo for over a year, I am very happy to report that I’ve finished reading it. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. Okay, that’s a lie. I know exactly how I feel; I’m just too nice to say it.Now, I admit that I only read this book because Robert Pattinson is in the movie version, which is coming out later this year. And I really don’t care that I thought it was kind of terrible, because as long as I have an excuse to sit in a theater for a couple hours and stare at him in a role other than a pasty vampire who does (or does not as the case may sometimes be) sparkle, my inner fangirl will be happy.In all honestly, though, the upcoming movie is not the reason I finished the book. After all, I only got two chapters in to Bel Ami, another book-to-movie adaptation coming out this year that Pattinson stars in, before I called it quits. So then why did I keep reading? you ask. Well, because I was fairly positive at some point there would be an eye-opening “Oh, now I get it!” moment and the entire novel would become clear to me. Yeah, that didn’t really happen.At all.I scratched my head until the very end. And when it was over, I’m pretty sure I gasped out a “Huh?” as I was busting my ass on the stair machine. I just . . . I don’t know. I don’t even have words for this book. It made about as much sense as the dreams I have on any given night. How they made it into a movie, I can’t even imagine. Aside from not making sense, it’s all very stream of consciousness. There’s a lot of thinking (weird thinking), and the sparse dialog that exists read very choppy and unnatural to me. It was also a struggle to figure out who was talking at times. I want to believe it’s because I had a janky electronic copy and the paragraphs got messed up and dialog tags went missing, but something tells me that’s not the case.There is, however, a positive side to having read the book: I won’t walk out of the theater thinking what the f*** just happened? Also, I’ll be prepared for the WTF scenes, like the rectal exam and the water bottle. And the ending. This is one of those rare cases where I don’t think the book will help the movie make sense, but at least I can go into it knowing that I’m not going to understand anything, and I can put more effort into ogling The Pretty.Someone on Twitter said they saw the trailer and were left completely confused. I replied by saying I read the book and I’m just as confused.

Sarah Funke

Liked this a ton. Very spare writing, even for DD, so unencumbered by simile and metaphor, so beautiful and crisp and sharp and rhythmic, that you have to read a lot of it twice to understand it. Plenty of the usual quotable wisdom; some stunning passages, and terrific juxtapositions. A great representative paragraph:"The tower gave him strength and depth. He knew what he wanted, a haircut, but stood a while longer in the soaring noise of the street and studied the mass and scale of the tower. The one virtue of its surface was to skim and bend the river light and mime the tides of open sky. There was an aura of texture and reflection. He scanned its length and felt connected to it, sharing the surface and the environment that came into contact with the surface, from both sides. A surface separates inside from out and belongs no less to one than the other. He'd thought about surfaces in the shower once." (p.9) One of the many little bits I just love: "If you knew the man ten years, it might take you all that time to notice he did not wear glasses" (p. 53) Stuff about eye contact and brushing against people in pedestrian traffic (p. 66). "To know and not to act is not to know" (p. 85). TDF booth line filled with the only people not reacting to a huge crisis in Times Square. Hilarious. "I was a kid and a little pedantic but I still maintain I had a point" (p. 184). Obvious structural parallels with Joyce of course and an unplanned, I'm sure, nod to Woolf: the artistry of the protagonist who wants to move people around, no matter the drama of the context, to catch the light in a certain way. In addition to all this -- this craft and beauty and wit and intelligence -- he predicted the financial crisis (his financial manager protagonist is warned that he is "speculating into the void") and also predicts what my friend Alison Fraser has referred to as "the death of death" created by electronic media. He uses words that shouldn't, really, be used any more -- like "satchel" -- but comments on others that are much harder to call, like "telephone," and "vestibule, if this is still a word." And then there are all the words he's dug out of I don't know where, like "slub," for example.

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