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Americana

Narrated by: George Newbern
Length: 12 hrs and 11 mins
4 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

At 28, David Bell is the American dream come true. He has fought his way to the top, surviving office purges and scandals to become a high-powered television executive. David's world is made up of the images that flicker across America's screens, the fantasies that enthrall America's imagination. And then the dream - and the dream making - become a nightmare. At the height of his success, David sets out to rediscover reality. Camera in hand, he journeys across the country in a mad and moving attempt to capture a sense of his own and his country's past, present, and future.

©1971 Don DeLillo. All rights reserved (P)2016 Simon & Schuster

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 06-29-17

DeLillo's Grand First Step

Almost 25-years later, and DeLillo's first novel jumps from a quasi-normal narrative to almost a prose poem, from Mad Men to David Lynch. It is funky, infinitely quotable, and haunting in its strange awareness and paranoia. It is like Don Delillo wanted to describe a documentary of America verbally, but grew unsatisfied in just telling you what he was seeing. Soon, he switched to describing what America was saying/singing. After that he was licking the Acetate off the Super 16 and describing the trip. Funky.

I'm taking a road trip with my brother (a writer), his friend (a documentary filmaker and former CIA agent), and another freind (a literary American writer of both fiction and nonfiction) later this summer. I was teasing my brother that during the trip, I was going to literally EAT the author's book, page-by-page, while traveling with him on this road trip through the West. Perhaps, I need to switch books and eat 'Americana'. Our road trip is starting and ending in Dallas. Love Field. I feel like my Summer of 2017 started and will eventually end with the taste of 'Americana' in my mouth.ding in Dallas. Love Field. I feel like my Summer of 2017 started and will eventually end with the taste of 'Americana' in my mouth.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • sgonk
  • New York, NY USA
  • 11-15-18

DeLillo's Overture

There are some beautiful sentences in this book. The themes, characters, and settings foreshadow the rest of DeLillo's work. Given that this was his first novel, that makes sense, and it also makes sense that he's done better than this. I think White Noise especially does a much better job with some of the main themes of this book.

Maybe the biggest problem I had with this is that I didn't like the main character. I don't think he--David Bell--was meant to be likable, but I stopped and restarted this book because I found Bell so distasteful. (Well, stopped because I found him distasteful. Started again because I like DeLillo's prose).

The book has (at least) 2 distinct sections. It starts on Madison Avenue in NYC, with a sort of Mad Men feel. Then it becomes On The Road (ish). The second part also reminds me of Universal Harvester by John Darnielle. Something about the atmosphere in the two books is similar.

The narration was appropriate for this material.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Confusing and Boring. 2.75 Stars

I expected this to be better than it was. I just couldn't get engaged with the story, structure, characters, or writing style. It lacked a tight cohesiveness and depth. It was all over the place and I eventually gave up trying to figure out how it was supposed to come together as a whole. I couldn't wait for it to be over!

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  • Antonio
  • Los Angeles, CA United States
  • 11-05-18

Boring, pretentious and highly overrated.

One of the most boring slogs, scattershot, and pretentious books I have read in years. If this is representative of typical DeLillo, I will gladly stick with DFW (even his lesser writings) every time.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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hypnotizing

the book is enhanced by the hypnotizing voice, when it was over I started it again, lost in the poem

0 of 2 people found this review helpful