Wednesday, February 23, 2011


During the last day of his life, Eric Packer conducts business and submits to medical checkups, among other activities, from the comfort of his white stretch limo. His priority for the day is a haircut, but his progress is hampered by various traffic tie-ups, including a Presidential visit, a musician's funeral, a riot, standing water—you name it. His assassin is a disgruntled former employee who has made phone threats and craves notoriety, but, frankly, everyone in the book is a little unbalanced. Eric himself is the most off-key, stopping frequently for food and sex and losing his and his wife's fortune in currency speculation (intentionally?). Is this business as usual? He seems to vacillate between paranoia about death threats--spurring him to keep moving and obsess about security--and resignation to his fate, which underlies the sudden dissolution of his fortune. The book feels futuristic and robotic, but it is set in the year 2000 (published in 2003). And leave it to DeLillo to pose this quirky question: When you lose money in the stock market, where does it go?

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