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Don Delillo Biography

(1936– ), Americana, End Zone, Ratner's Star, Players, The Names, White Noise, Libra, Mao II

american life culture york

American novelist, born in New York, educated at Fordham University. Since he began publishing fiction in the early 1970s, he has established a reputation as a social satirist and critic of the ‘American Dream’, whose novels frequently incorporate disturbing and occasionally surreal metaphors of contemporary life. These include his first novel, Americana (1971), whose protagonist, David Bell, is a young and successful television executive who abandons his job and his New York life to make an experimental movie in a small Kansas town, becoming, in the process, increasingly divorced from reality; End Zone (1972), which constructs an elaborate parallel between the game of American football and nuclear warfare in order to investigate the underlying violence of American culture; Ratner's Star (1976); Players (1977); The Names (1982), which is set in Greece, the Middle East, and India and concerns a series of cult murders; and White Noise (1985), whose hero, a middle-class academic, becomes drawn into the violent sub-culture of the town in which he lives. Libra (1988) was an exploration of the Kennedy assassination which investigated the internal lives of the central figures in this crucial moment in recent history. In this, as in his other studies of the iconography of American life, historical fact is interwoven with fictional detail in a narrative whose chilling plausibility serves to reinforce its power. Mao II (1991) deals with the corrupting power of fame in its exploration of the life of a blocked writer, which, according to the author, was inspired by his reflections upon a photograph of the reclusive novelist J. D. Salinger.

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