A true titan of American literature, Don DeLillo is the author of 18 novels, including the critically acclaimed, era-defining bestsellers White Noise, Libra and Underworld. In distinctly exacting prose, his work combines satire, catastrophe and philosophy to expose the emptiness and excess of American culture.
On the importance of writers-as-outsiders in trying times, he declares:
“Writers must oppose systems. It’s important to write against power, corporations, the state, and the whole system of consumption and of debilitating entertainments…I think writers, by nature, must oppose things, oppose whatever power tries to impose on us.”
In a list of favorite reads for Amazon Book Review, DeLillo shared four books that remind him of the power of fiction. Find his recommendations below, and complement with the bookshelves of David Foster Wallace, Philip Roth, Ernest Hemingway, Salman Rushdie, and David Lynch.
State of Grace by Joy Williams
“I’ve just re-read State of Grace by Joy Williams. Published in 1986, this novel kept me turning pages at high speed from the very first sentence: ‘There is no warning of daylight here.’ This is the American novel at its height of biblical longing.” -DD
Apeirogon by Colum McCann
“Apeirogon, 2020, Colum McCann’s ambitious and compelling journey into the lives of Palestinians and Israelis. Strong work, and intriguing surprise on every page, the kind of current American novel that reminds us that fiction continues to renew itself.” -DD
“Another instance of pleasurable re-reading. William Gaddis’ first novel, mid-1950s, The Recognitions, and I remember walking into a bookstore in Manhattan and being intrigued by the striking cover design, from a 15th-century Italian altarpiece. The first paragraph knocked me out and I’ve been reading and re-reading Gaddis ever since.” -DD
The Index of Self-Destructive Acts by Christopher Beha
“New novel, 2020, The Index of Self-Destructive Acts, ranging from politics to baseball to mortality and sexuality, and what else is there? Family life, and this is also there, a work that gains momentum as it sweeps along, with an eloquent final page.” -DD
(via Amazon Book Review)