He’s the man.
My senior year of high school we read White Noise; it was one of the few books I actually finished back then. Growing up in a town of barely 3,000 people, that caliper of artistic bizarrity was not just foreign, it was completely shocking. While most kids wrote it off as pretentious gibberish, I fell in love. Sometimes I didn’t even know what I was reading, stumbling my way through a narrative unlike anything I’d read before; but there was something about the writing itself, the way a sentence felt as I read through it, that pulled me in deeper no matter how lost I felt. The sensation upon finishing the novel was similar to what I felt after the first time I ever masturbated – excitement, confusion, exhaustion.
Since then I’ve read End Zone, Mao II, Cosmopolis, Point Omega, and about half of Underworld, and though I have a few more waiting on my shelf, each book takes something out of me that requires a buffer period before I can delve into the next. And even after all these years and pages, I still can’t quite articulate what it is I like about DeLillo – something about the tone, the mood, the feeling that stays with me even after I close the book; the unique, sometimes unsettling, perspective on things I’ve never given a second thought; his ability to write about sex, drugs, alcohol, and use profanity in a way that doesn’t feel forced or juvenile. The thing with DeLillo is that you just have to read him; it’s an immersive experience that everyone should have at least once.