Mao Ii: A Novel

Paperback | May 1, 1992

byDon Delillo

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Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award

From the author of White Noise (winner of the National Book Award) and Zero K


"One of the most intelligent, grimly funny voices to comment on life in present-day America" (The New York Times), Don DeLillo presents an extraordinary new novel about words and images, novelists and terrorists, the mass mind and the arch-individualist. At the heart of the book is Bill Gray, a famous reclusive writer who escapes the failed novel he has been working on for many years and enters the world of political violence, a nightscape of Semtex explosives and hostages locked in basement rooms. Bill's dangerous passage leaves two people stranded: his brilliant, fixated assistant, Scott, and the strange young woman who is Scott's lover--and Bill's.

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From Our Editors

"One of the most ironic, intelligent, grimly funny voices to comment on life in present-day America" (The New York Times), Don DeLillo presents an extraordinary new novel about novelists and terrorists, the mass mind and the arch individualist. A love triangle that moves from New York to London to Beirut, Mao II tells an intimate story...

From the Publisher

Winner of the PEN/Faulkner AwardFrom the author of White Noise (winner of the National Book Award) and Zero K"One of the most intelligent, grimly funny voices to comment on life in present-day America" (The New York Times), Don DeLillo presents an extraordinary new novel about words and images, novelists and terrorists, the mass mind a...

Acclaimed novelist, poet, and essayist Don DeLillo published his first short  story when he was twenty-three years old. He has since written twelve novels, including  White Noise (1985), which won the National Book Award. It was followed by  Libra (1988), his novel about the assassination of President Kennedy, and by Mao  I...

other books by Don Delillo

Zero K: A Novel
Zero K: A Novel

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see all books by Don Delillo
Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 7.8 × 5.1 × 0.6 inPublished:May 1, 1992Publisher:Penguin Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140152741

ISBN - 13:9780140152746

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Customer Reviews of Mao Ii: A Novel

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Flawless My personal favorite DeLillo.
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, but ... This is a good novel, but not DeLillo's best. I imagine partly it's subject matter - it's a rare novel about a writer that raises to the level of greatness. DeLillo's at his best when looking at the world, like in White Noise or Underworld, not when he's solipsistically navel gazing, like here and in The Body Artist. Only Flann O'Brien's At Swim Two Birds pulls it off, and that's because it's funny, something that doesn't seem to be in DD's bag of tricks. Brilliant writing as usual, but so-so story. Recommended for fans, which I am, but representative of him at his best.
Date published: 2016-11-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Much to be Admired As I read this book I could feel DeLillo grappling with something important, trying to deliver something profound, and that feeling made me want to press on, to see where he was going, even though I found most of his narrative a slog. There were astounding moments. The funeral of Ayatollah Khomeini was gorgeous prose. The discussion between Bill and George about the power of the terrorist to affect change was tense and convincing. Karen's time in the homeless shantytown was poetic and always shifting. But nothing in Mao II was easy; DeLillo made us work for every piece of wonder he embedded in his text. And along with these moments of genius was the promise of something profound pushing me on. DeLillo fulfilled his promise to me, but considering the myriad opinions concerning what Mao II was about, I am sure what I found profound is only one possibility. So here's what Mao II was about for me: insignificance. Not the usual evocation of existential nihilism, but a workable insignificance in the face of our search for impossible significance. It wasn't telling us to give up because there is no meaning, but telling us to simply recognize that whatever meaning we find for ourselves is significant for that and nothing else. DeLillo engages with issues and artifacts and concepts that our culture endows with the illusion of significance: architecture, the world trade center, terrorism and terror, belief, love, belief in love, religion, home and homelessness, art, the artist, photography, great men, and writing. Yes, even writing. All of it is insignificant beyond ourselves. And the search for significance in these things is equally insignificant. It's a subtle shift from the nihilist perspective that nothing means anything, but the shift is a profound one (even if DeLillo is only adding to the voices of those who've already spoken about this possibility). It was the pay off I was hoping for. I am only sorry that it wasn't enough to make me love this book. I wanted to love Mao II. But I'll have to cope with simply admiring it and its author. I've been afraid to engage with DeLillo before now. His reputation is daunting, and so are the issues he tackles. But now that I've begun, I am confident that somewhere in his body of work is a book I will love as much as I admire this one. I hope that book is Libra.
Date published: 2010-01-15

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From Our Editors

"One of the most ironic, intelligent, grimly funny voices to comment on life in present-day America" (The New York Times), Don DeLillo presents an extraordinary new novel about novelists and terrorists, the mass mind and the arch individualist. A love triangle that moves from New York to London to Beirut, Mao II tells an intimate story of faith, longing and redemption

Editorial Reviews

"This novel's a beauty. A vision as bold and a voice as eloquent and morally focused as any in American writing" --Thomas Pynchon

The writing is dazzling; the images, so radioactive that they glow afterward in our minds." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times