I was listening to this one and I almost stopped it a few times. But something clicked with the narrative and I kept with it. I would say I didn’t end up hating it, like I thought I might, and while I didn’t really connect with it, it was interesting, and had me thinking about how it might look or be structure today. This novel is from 1977 and takes place within the culture of the New York financial district. It uses the World Trade Center as its host and symbolic setting for the kinds of a-human (as in devoid of life and spirit) behavior of materialistic emptiness and as a counter-example overly-signified “natural” scenes and life as equally empty.
It begins with a murder in an office in the World Trade Center. It goes from there to describe the rumors and other ideas circulating the murder and the lives lived by those who witnessed it. It also goes in a completely different direction I won’t tell you about that both works and doesn’t work.
This novel reminded me a lot of the 1970s novels of J.G. Ballard, which makes sense as he and Delillo were contemporaries. It’s about the underlying emptiness of the premier financial institute. It also predates and predicts novels like American Psycho and movies like Wall Street, which seek to tell different version of this same story…how the violence of capitalism can sometimes be written as actual scenes of violence. It’s also interesting to me how the World Trade Center was always a sort of target for anti-capitalist art and terror, and how it became an opposite symbol.