Review: Point Omega – Don DeLillo

If you’re a reader who likes plot points neatly tied and convention followed, this book is not for you.  Point Omega by Don DeLillo revolves around a character named Elster, who is an intellectual that was brought into the war effort around 2004.  I can’t think exactly who he is modeled on, but he’s an apologist, a hawk, a salesman coming up with terms like “a haiku war,” as if by changing the words we use to wage war we can change the context or identity of war.

Elster has quit the scene and escaped to a home in the desert when the reader meets him in the novel.  He’s out there with a man in his earl thirties, Jim Finley, a not so successful film maker, who wants to do an interview / monologue with Elster.  Put the camera on the man and let him ramble for 90 minutes.  Moreover, he worships Elster’s intellect, even though Elster seems to be in a state of decline.
This narrative is sandwiched between two chapters called: Anonymity and Anonymity 2, which take place at the Museum of Modern Art where an installation of 24 Hour Pyscho is being played in a sparse, dark room.  These two chapters are narrated by an anonymous man who comes to the installation for hours at a time every day.  He is obsessed with the film, but also observes the other attendees.  Is this nameless narrator just a passing stranger, or does he have something to do with the disappearance of Elster’s daughter, Jessie?

I don’t care how well this novel works or doesn’t work.  What I appreciate is that DeLillo is trying something new, and that he has enough caché for the book to be published.  Point Omega ends with the reader wondering what may have happened; however, Elster and Finley are in the same quandary as the reader.  Jessie, Elster’s daughter who has been staying with them, has disappeared and no one knows what happened.  Did she wander into the desert?  Did she hitch a ride and run off somewhere?  Was foul play involved?  There are moments in life that will always be a mystery.  We can conjecture, toss possibilities into the air, and ruminate, but ultimately we will never know.  The book leaves the reader with these questions, and the mystery of Jessie’s disappearance haunts for days to follow.

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