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The Review Man

Formerly of Goodreads, now of both words, in the coming times only here?

Currently reading

Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature
Margaret Atwood
Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals
Robert M. Pirsig
Simulacra and Simulation (The Body, In Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism)
Jean Baudrillard, Sheila Faria Glaser
Leaven of Malice
Robertson Davies
The Salterton Trilogy
Robertson Davies
Effi Briest (Penguin Classics)
Theodor Fontane
Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World
Nicholas Ostler
Cases And Materials On The Law Of Torts
Robert M. Solomon
Public Law : Cases Materials and Commentary
Philip Bryden, Craik, Neil, Craig Forcese, Forcese, Craig
A Property Law Reader
Bruce H. Ziff

Cosompolis was my first DeLillo. It was very nearly my last. (I'm reading White Noise now, but I almost didn't.) Like many others, I read this to ready myself for the Cronenberg film, although now I'm not so sure I'll enjoy that either.

I don't really see why this novel was written. DeLillo's satirical look at technology and capitalism is hardly new (wasn't Gaddis doing the same thing—but better—in JR a full thirty years earlier?), and Eric Packer is a bit of a caricature of whatever power-hungry financial high-ups are. Oh look—rats have taken over New York. There's no way that's a symbolic jab at capitalism, right? Hey, Eric Packer just stumbled upon a movie set with tens of thousands of naked bodies! Might that somehow reflect on money's power over the corporal?

I'm curious to see what Cronenberg does with this. The dialogue is stilted, the story veers dangerously close to morality-tale territory, and the characters are too plasticky to appreciate. If nothing else, at least the movie will be weird.

Now that I've had a few months to reflect on the film adaptation, it does seem like Cronenberg was the man for the job. The casting really was spot-on (I actually understood Robert Pattinson's Eric Packer more than DeLillo's) and something about the mise-en-scène worked for me. I don't quite see how Cosmopolis the film is hitting so high on Top 10 lists this year, but I guess I've got to give DeLillo credit, as the screenplay draws heavily from the book. An interesting end to a twisted story.