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This disorientation might explain why I can’t quite make up my mind about Point Omega. DeLillo is, after Beckett and Robbe-Grillet, the indisputable master of grinding a plot to the brink of stasis and then recording its every last movement. Point Omega seems like a logical endpoint of that quest. How much further into the desert of plotlessness is DeLillo willing to go, and how far are we willing to follow? Where else can he possibly take the novel?

It strikes me as odd that DeLillo, whose analytical and stylistic powers have always exceeded his powers of plot and characterization, has still written fiction almost exclusively. The strongest material in Point Omega is only tangentially related to the book’s main story, and is essentially just art criticism: DeLillo’s deeply engaged description of what it’s like to stand and watch 24 Hour Psycho. His books lately are full of calls for mindfulness. “This was the point,” he writes in Point Omega. “To see what’s here, finally to look and to know you’re looking, to feel time passing, to be alive to what is happening in the smallest registers of motion.” I get the sense that he wants his oeuvre to culminate in a pure act of attention, and I’m not convinced that the novel is the best medium in which to do that. As a raging DeLillo fan, I’d be more excited to see him branch out to another genre—an experimental autobiography, or essayistic micro-observations of his favorite art and literature—than write another short novel about detached and largely interchangeable characters.

Point Omega
By Don Delillo.
Scribner.
$24.


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