Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone in assassinating President John F. Kennedy? In his ninth novel, American Book Award winner DeLillo (for White Noise , LJ 2/1/85) addresses this question, skillfully weaving together fact and fiction to create an engrossing tale. It is a measure of his success that while reading, one must keep reminding oneself that this is, indeed, a novel making ``no claim to literal truth.'' DeLillo's vision is not of a single, perfectly working scheme but rather of ``a rambling affair that succeeded in short term mainly due to chance.'' The cast, both real and fictional, ranges from scheming CIA agents to Mafia dons, but what haunts the reader most is the image of Oswald as a confused young man searching for an identity and accidentally caught up in something bigger than himself. Sure to be a best seller. David W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, Fla. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The ninth novel in 17 years from the remarkably productive Don DeLillo and one of his best (along with End Zone, 1972; Ratner's Star, 1976; and White Noise, 1984). Though his style and techniques do not change abruptly, DeLillo retains the capacity to surprise his readers with each new novel. In Libra, he narrates three connected and intercutting stories in sharply etched scenes: the story of Lee Harvey Oswald; of the plotters who enlist him in their plot to stage the assassination of President Kennedy; and of a historian writing a "secret history" of the plot who perhaps conveys the feelings that the usually noncommittal DeLillo has for his subject. As in earlier novels, randomness, the refusal of people and events to submit to control and to plan, as well as death in all its variety, continue to be thematically central. DeLillo's grasp of the fractured language of semiliterates and of the clumsy language of specialists (e.g., CIA agents, coaches, scientists) is legendary, and is used to full advantage here. Like other members of his age cohort (E.L. Doctorow, born in 1931; Robert Coover, 1932; Thomas Pynchon, 1937), DeLillo (born in 1936) is preoccupied with depicting in fiction the absurd and tragic elements of American history, and in Libra has produced his best "historical" novel yet, a book that deserves a place on library shelves next to Doctorow's Ragtime (1975) and Coover's The Public Burning (CH, Nov '77). Strongly recommended. -K. Tololyan, Wesleyan University
Author notes provided by Syndetics
Don DeLillo was born in the Bronx, New York on November 20, 1936. He received a bachelor's degree in communication arts from Fordham University in 1958. After graduation, he was a copywriter for an advertising company and wrote short stories on the side. His first story, The River Jordan, was published two years later in Epoch, the literary magazine of Cornell University. <p> His first novel, Americana, was published in 1971. His other works include Ratner's Star, The Names, Libra, Underworld, The Body Artist, Cosmopolis, Falling Man, Point Omega, and The Angel Esmeralda, a collection of short stories. He won several awards including the National Book Award for fiction in 1985 for White Noise, the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1992 for Mao II, the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction in 2010, and the inaugural Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction in 2013. <p> (Bowker Author Biography)