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Publisher's Summary

Set against the backdrop of a lush and exotic Greece, The Names is considered the book that began to drive "sharply upward the size of his readership" (Los Angeles Times Book Review). Among the cast of DeLillo's bizarre yet fully realized characters in The Names are Kathryn, the narrator's estranged wife; their son, the six-year-old novelist; Owen, the scientist; and the neurotic narrator obsessed with his own neuroses. A thriller, a mystery, and still a moving examination of family, loss, and the amorphous and magical potential of language itself, The Names stands with any of DeLillo's more recent and highly acclaimed works.
©1989 Don DeLillo (P)2017 Simon & Schuster Audio
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Critic Reviews

" The Names not only accurately reflects a portion of our contemporary world but, more importantly, creates an original world of its own." ( Chicago Sun-Times)
"DeLillo sifts experience through simultaneous grids of science and poetry, analysis and clear sight, to make a high-wire prose that is voluptuously stark." ( Village Voice Literary Supplement)
"DeLillo verbally examines every state of consciousness from eroticism to tourism, from the idea of America as conceived by the rest of the world to the idea of the rest of the world as conceived by America, from mysticism to fanaticism." ( New York Times)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Darwin8u on 08-09-17

Nightmare of real things, the fallen wonder...

“I move past the scaffolding and walk down the steps, hearing one language after another, rich, harsh, mysterious, strong. This is what we bring to the temple, not prayer or chant or slaughtered rams. Our offering is language.”
― Don DeLillo, The Names

For 4/5 of this book Don DeLillo was surfing in Mao II, White Noise, Underworld, and Libra territory. I was jamming. Words. Names. Cults. Terrorism. It was fantastic. But there was 1/5 (yup, math works) of this book right before the last few pages where DeLillo just let go of the narrative kite. It was like I was meditating and almost ready to escape the wheel with this book Don, and at the very end your chanting just put me to sleep. Still, 4/5 of this book rocked. And maybe it was me and not you Don. Maybe. I'll review tomorrow some more. Maybe I'll even re-read the last 60+ pages. See if I can detect God or meaning in those words. Maybe I'm just tired. Maybe I'm not thinking right. Tomorrow, I'll look at this again with fresh eyes.

[Post Rest] I'm still not ready to make it five stars. It doesn't quite belong to the same orbit as those DeLillo novels listed above. HOWEVER, there was something visceral about this novel that grabbed me (and yes lost me for a bit). I remember going to high school in Turkey in the late 80s. Hell, Kurdish Marxist terrorists inadvertently saved my life (long, but true story). DeLillo's novel is an archeology or words, a history of terror, a hunt for God and the economics of understanding. It is at times a frustrating prose poem and at times glorious burp in a cave. It gives serious echoes of MAO II. It is infinitely quotable. It whirls like a dusty dervish on sacred Name of God. Reducing memory and history to the initials of the Great unknown.

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13 of 16 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By MIKI on 09-19-17

mixed feelings

not an easy read. not sure if it is worth the bother. great narration though

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1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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