DeLillo’s “Players”; It’s unsettling how life imitates art

playersMy rating: 2 stars (out of 5)

Don DeLillo has written some amazing books but I’m not sure this is one of them. Players is an interesting book mostly because it was written pre 9/11 and the characters work in the World Trade Center. The wife even talks about how the towers seem temporary: “To Pammy the towers didn’t seem permanent. They remained concepts, no less transient for all their bulk than some routine distortion of light.” Moreover after witnessing a terrorist event on the trading floor, her husband decides to get involved with some terrorists. Talk about life imitating art. 

Where DeLillo really delivers is on characters and their mannerisms, the way they observe people. I found myself saying, “Yes, I do that!” and applauding how he describes those feelings and processes.

But it’s a difficult read; I found it hard to engage. The narrative is dream-like at times and hard to grasp (purposefully so) and the four main characters are shallow and living vacuous lives in New York. They pursue the idea of terrorism and different lifestyles to escape their boring routines. The problem was I didn’t care enough to worry about them (although I think that’s also the point DeLillo is making). I agree with other readers on Goodreads that it hasn’t aged so well. I was expecting more. That said, even a bad DeLillo is better than a lot of everything else.

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