I’m not familiar with Don DeLillo but upon uploading a photo of my latest selected book, quite a few people were quick to say how good ‘Americana’ was and how much they enjoyed it.
I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed. It follows David Bell who seems to be the All American boy, living the American dream. He works as a television executive, lives in a swanky apartment and has an ex wife with benefits, if you catch my not so subtle drift. But David seems displeased with his comfortable life and is desperate to expose the real America, or unseen America. The book is broken up into Four Parts, which show David at different stages.
In the first part David is an almost Patrick Bateman style character, and although there’s a lot of humour in the first part of the book, it’s also incredibly pretentious and hard to feel any kind of sympathy for the people he tries to screw over or spreads rumours against via Binky his secretary.
‘Four months earlier, at a party aboard a tugboat repeatedly circling the Statue of Liberty, she had gone around telling everyone she had dropped one of her pubic hairs into Mastoff Panofsky’s scotch and soda. Everybody was afraid of her’ – Like I said, you can’t help but feel that David is right to be growing tired of surroundings with such callousness and fakery, despite being one himself.
He sets out on the road to make a documentary on the Navahos but never quite makes it, instead taking time to make his own film. Don DeLillo has written the book so beautifully descriptive and poetic, that it’s easy to see how David sees life as one long motion picture made up of different moments. He uses people he meets in his journey to appear in his film, and it is in the second part of the book that we learn about David’s childhood and growing up. During this section of the book, I took that David was struggling to overcome the death of his mother and her illness and also grasp a better understanding of some of the moments he witnessed as child. There’s page upon page of imagery-laden dialogue, which at times could be hard to follow, as it seemed nonsensical, but I think that’s what DeLillo wanted. To make us feel as confused and ‘falling in’ on ourselves as David felt.
‘We plan the destruction of everything which does not serve the cause of efficiency.’
In the final parts of the book David seems to have emptied his conscience and soul of the doubt and need he had been carrying round, he continues his journey and meets numerous people on his travels, which offer him more insight and perspective to the real America and it’s people. A great book, which deals with everything from sex and death, to finding your calling in life and whether happiness can be achieved. I’d recommend this to people who love vivid descriptions of imagery and want something a little different than your typical ‘finding yourself’ novel.
‘All of these sounds in the warm house, of running water and steam, of shrill chalk and the rustling of paper, of voices known and of time moving down the Grandfather clock, all these, inflections of the house itself, all-comforting and essential, told me that I was safe.’
Star Rating out of 5: 5
Happy reading bookworms.