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DeLillo's first novel is stranger even than his later novels. It starts off conventionally (for him) as a story about a young man who rejects success and decides to quit his job and make his own films. It has some great sections and is fascinating but goes badly off the rails in the final act.
An acquired taste, I enjoy his elliptical storytelling and his challenging prose. I don't think this novel represents him at his best. That came in the 1980's and later with White Noise, Underworld and other better, regarded novels. You can see the editor and publisher scratching their heads at this one, it is so good in parts and frankly, dreadful in other parts.
One of my favourite writers, at the beginning of his career, bursting with talent, but not the same judgement as the fully mature writer.
I can see why some of the reviews have less than I think are the required 5 stars for this book. It is awash with word wonder. Fantastic rolling prose, odd segments of remembrance and brilliantly crafted dialogue. I suppose if you are thinking it's going to be a straight forward novel, and that's what you know and love, then you may find this a bit strange. I've only read one other of his books(Libra) before this, and that too I thought was superb, with a very poetic, individual style,so to find this title having even more of that feeling of literary hypnotism, I was blown away. I love Bret Easton Ellis, and Kerouac, so this was simply awesome as far as I'm concerned.One of my all time favourites.If you have to have neatly tied up slightly melancholic novels of redemption, or coming of age, you'll probably hate it, but having said that...give a go anyway.
DeLillo è lo scrittore che stimo maggiormente, spesso rimango ammutolito davanti alla sua bravura.
Credo che l'autore possieda una consapevolezza profonda, vasta e matura della natura umana, ed in particolare del delirio insito nella società Americana, ormai esportato e globalizzato. La sua satira è latente, mai scontata, paradossale ed esistenziale; macabra, reale. Ogni suo testo ha una valenza profetica intrinseca, piuttosto visibile in quest'opera edita agli inizi degli anni '70, quando ancora non ero nato. Considerando che questo è lo scritto d'esordio dell'autore, completato prima dei 35 anni, risulta impressionante. Credo che "Americana" possa essere definito come un capolavoro, purtroppo però questa parola è stata usata ed abusata a lungo, quindi ha perso di significato, tuttavia questo rimane.
Americana is a personal and at-times autobiographical novel by a young Don DeLillo that serves as an important touchstone for both wartime mid-60s America and DeLillo's epic body of work to come. It's easy to explain it away as a hip, jaded, ironic novel of postmodern sensibilities. A young, handsome television executive slowly loses his mind amid a funhouse of commerce and sloganeering. But in another fashion, the novel is also intensely modern in its themes and design. In the limited interviews he has agreed to, DeLillo has eschewed the "postmodern" label (in short, to borrow Frederic Jameson's definition, a writer whose work details "the cultural logic of late-capitalism") by describing himself simply as a novelist, a writer of novels. The second of the novel's four parts, for instance, is a near-direct allusion to Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The overt theme of Americana is not subtle – America's launch into vast corporate-commercialism (achieved by way of global imperialism) has left in its wake a chasm of empty, malformed individuals, spoiled and stupid, purchasing items they don't need, watching TV shows they can't remember, wanting for something they don't know they're wanting for, haunted by a lowdown awareness that there is something more to it all than this. DeLillo lays this on thick on almost every page, but his use of language is fresh and very much his own. The subconscious theme of the novel is the ancient literary one: human intelligence suffers loneliness and disjointness in a world whose codes are shifting in some profound way all the time. DeLillo's deployment of language and character in order to communicate this message is masterful. It is clear he worked on this book for a long time, and discovered his skills as he was working on it. His prose is animated by the subconscious – what is described as a weakness ("plotlessness") can also be seen as his greatest strength, which is that his works navigate a terrain below where most novels care to operate. Whether or not you enjoy this style comes down to personal taste and to what it is you're after as a reader. But Americana ranks for me as one of the most useful books to read if you want to learn how to write properly about what a mediascape developing at the speed of Moore's law does to individuals' speech, psyche, politics, intellect, and relationships.
Americana is DeLillo's first book. It presages authors like Chuck Palahniuk and Bret Easton Ellis thematically.
A discourse on alienation and emotional apathy with DeLillo's sense of humor and existential dread. This or End Zone are a good place to start reading DeLillo. His outlook on humanity isn't always cheerful but does show depth of thought. His prose is hypnotic yet (for DeLillo) deceptively simple and eminently readable.
He forwarned, Americana is seemingly intense to some readers although I find it one of DeLillo's easiest reads. It has a certain intensity that some folks I've encountered find difficult or not uplifting. Perhaps this is accurate for some but reading is an experiential enterprise.
This novel left me thinking of its thematic issues well after finishing its text. It is influential without being didactic or hysterically over wrought as many authors first novel can be. It is skillfully written and beautifully descriptive in its narrative.