©1988 Don DeLillo; (P)2000 Books on Tape, Inc.
"A seamless, brilliant work of compelling fiction." (Publishers Weekly)
"An engrossing tale." (Library Journal)
"DeLillo’s novel is like a stop-motion frame of the crossfire, a still picture of an awful moment.... [His] prose has a quality of demented lyricism." (The New Yorker)
Of course, he's a master. But I believe his real mastery came just after this with Mao II and then Underworld.
I'm glad I read this, and it can be compelling, but I have three complaints in the face of its general excellence:
1) To appreciate this in full, you have to know a lot of the individuals purported to be involved in the assassination controversy. Wikipedia helped, I'm sad to say, and I enjoyed the book more when I realized that some of the minor figures were historical as well.
2) James Ellroy ultimately does the deep cynicism here better than does DeLillo. His American trilogy covers a lot of the same ground with an even more devastating flamethrower.
3) DeLillo really finds his voice, for me, with Mao II. You see some of the same insights here in nascent form -- the sense that the terrorist shapes our public consciousness more fully than the artist -- but he doesn't sharpen them until his follow-up.
"Libra" is by no means an easy book. It's incredibly dense and confusing and I honestly probably wouldn't have been able to finish it if I hadn't been required to read it (it took almost 3 minutes to finish just one page on 1.5x speed). But it is a good story, especially if you're into Kennedy history.
The audiobook, on the other hand, is almost unbearable. I have nothing against the narrator (though he is a little emotionless and boring); it's the organization. The audiobook claims to have "chapters" but there just randomly thrown in and don't follow the book's chapters at all! I understand that the chapters aren't "numbered" in the book, but that doesn't mean they couldn't try to organize it a little better. This may not be that big of a deal to casual readers, but it is VERY inconvenient when you're trying to follow along in a physical book or trying to find a certain spot in the book. If you're reading this for a class, make sure you buy a hard copy because you will NOT be able to follow along in an audio book!
This is only my second Audible book, and as a student I really hope this is only a singular problem and isn't present in other books.
Don Delillo adds so much to the story of Oswald and the politics of the times. I had a very hard time with the narration, however. The narrator spoke clearly and plainly, but emotion was missing.
I listened to Underworld and loved it. i read other DD novels in print and also really liked them, but it will be impossible for me to purchase other DD audiobooks read by Mr. Prichard. He has no sense of pause, no sense of character, his voice is atonal and without inflections. I have no idea how some people become book readers..... this was not as bad as books read by Mr. Frederick Davidson but close.... please Audible have someone else perform these books!!!
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