CosmopolisDelillo is often a tough sell. Everything is metaphor and high-minded social commentary–the earmarks of post-modern literature. Of course this is almost the old definition of the word; kind of the eighties definition of post-modern. It’s hard to explain, but it seems that most of the stuff I’ve read in the genre since White Noise has become more subtle somehow, less black and white. Delillo’s characters are men of extremes. They have huge appetites and huge brains. They have see-sawing, but dramatic convictions and balls of brass. They have whole universes spinning within the interior dimensions of their lives. This book is a perfect example of the power of Delillo’s world view. Encapsulated within Eric Packer’s cork-lined limo is the entire rise and fall of the dotcom bubble–the beginning and end of a very limited era. A blip on the screen of American history, completely devoid of character, depth, staying power or subtlety. Unfortunately for Delillo, these adjectives can also describe Cosmopolis. Delillo seems to be riffing in this one. His protagonist, Packer, is about as well defined as a Jackson Pollack painting. Maybe this is on purpose–but most likely not. Even if this is supposed to represent the shallow nature of the time, we need more from our writers than a cursory examination of the thin, metal skin surrounding a bubble of a fairy tale that burst before it even got to the surface. The entire story takes place in one day as our billionaire friend Packer rides across town in his limo to get a haircut. We all know the traffic in Manhattan can get a little crazy, but even with a presidential motorcade, an anarchist riot, several hotel trysts, a crazed stalker and some gunplay, it seems a little ridiculous that it takes them an entire day to drive from Park Ave. to Tenth Avenue. Rather than seeming like a great allegory, this thing just seems over the top and too long, even at only 224 pages, for its own good.