February 05, 2003


ticket.jpgDon DeLillo's Mao II is a short book crammed full of big ideas. Lots of nuanced arguments about the power of images, the roll of the mob in modern society and the nature of identity.

The thing is, if your read almost anything about Mao II you'll read a similar catalog of its major themes ... which I don't think is terribly satisfying. But the experience of reading the book certainly is. The prologue, a mass Moonie wedding at Yankee Stadium, had me completely hooked:

"They want to snatch us back to the land of lawns. That we are willing to live on the road, sleep on the floor, crowd into vans and drive all night, fund-raising, serving Master. That our true father is a foreigner and nonwhite. How they silently despise. They keep our rooms ready. They have our names on their lips. But we're a lifetime away, weeping though hours of fist-pounding prayer.

World in pieces. It is shock of shocks. But there is plan. Pali-pali. Bring hurry-up time to all man."

I love the shift in language, the use broken english, bringing you into the mass mind of the Moonies. It may be a specific skill but DeLillo is the master of telling a multi-narrative story from the perspective of a ballpark crowd.

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