DeLillo’s glacial aesthetic


Over the last ten years, Don DeLillo has become determined to solve one of the great riddles of the ancient art of storytelling: What is the slowest speed at which a plot can move before it stops moving altogether, thereby ceasing to function as a plot? And what kind of quantum transformations might take place at that moment of absolute-zero narrative momentum? This obsession is not exactly new. DeLillo has never been celebrated for his rippin’ yarns. But his recent stretch of post-Underworld metaphysical anti-thrillers—The Body Artist, Cosmopolis, Falling Man—has reached a whole new level of inertia; they make his early talky masterpieces (White Noise, The Names) look like Jean-Claude Van Damme movies. Stasis, paradoxically, has become the animating force of his plots. Recent characters include a billionaire who gets stuck in traffic for 200 pages; a highbrow Zen contortionist who spends long stretches pretending to check her watch in slow motion; and a man who appears to be falling out of buildings but ends up hanging, frozen, in midair.

more from Sam Anderson at New York Magazine here.