Since publishing his first novel, “Americana,” in 1971, Don DeLillo has been recognised as one of the major American writers of fiction.
But over the course of his 40-year career, he’d never released a collection of his short stories, which often run in magazines like The New Yorker, until yesterday, when Scribner published “The Angel Esmerelda.”
The stories draw on the weight of history and isolation that colours DeLillo’s best-known works, including the paranoid “White Noise” and the monumental, half-century-spanning epic “Underworld.”
If “Underworld,” at a spine-deforming 832 pages, might have proved a little too intimidating for you, DeLillo’s stories provide a much more accessible entrance into the writer’s work.
So far, the collection has earned raves from at least two prominent writers. On Amazon.com, Sam Lipsyte wrote that “reading this collection confirms DeLillo as one of our very best short story writers. It’s scary.”
And Martin Amis, in a New Yorker review, calls DeLillo “the laureate of terror, of modern or postmodern terror, and the way it hovers and shimmers in our subliminal minds.”
We particularly recommend DeLillo’s spare but sharp “Baader-Meinhof,” in which a woman looks at paintings in an art exhibit of the titular Cold War terrorists and then has a troubling, intrusive encounter with a man. Although that isn’t available without a New Yorker subscription, another story collected in the book, “Midnight in Dostoevsky,” can be read for free.
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