I first became curious about Cosmopolis, because Robert Pattinson was going to be starring in the film adaptation, and I wanted to know what he’d be like if apart from the taint of Edward Cullen.
I still haven’t finished the film, but I did finish the novel, and I have some mostly mixed thoughts about it.
The plot: Eric Packer is a billionaire mogul at the ripe old age of 28. He’s betting on the yen, and he desperately needs a haircut. The novel unfolds in a day in the quest to get said haircut, while sex, violence, and major traffic jams (the President’s in town, and a music artist’s funeral procession) impede his progress through the city. I mean that is the barest of bones summary, and it doesn’t quite capture the essence of what the novel is really about.
Which is, what? I could give you a whole eloquent spiel about the collapse of capitalism, the futility of our efforts, a critique against capitalism, or early post-9/11 commentary and I could be right or I could be wrong. Mostly, I’m still on the fence as to whether I thought it was subversively brilliant or “Meh. Not interested.” I think there are interesting concepts and moments, but they get occluded by absurd plot points that had me scratching my head.
So that’s where I’m left, really. Scratching my head, wondering how else to describe Cosmopolis. If you’ve never read Don DeLillo, don’t start with this one (or even Falling Man, which was my first DeLillo). Start with White Noise and then make your way to Cosmopolis, if you feel like it. I think DeLillo is brilliant. I just don’t know that this is a “favorite” read. It certainly lacked the hilarity and absurd pleasure of White Noise, or even the elegiac quality of Falling Man.