Five Minutes on Don Delillo’s “Point Omega” and Why It Will Melt Your Brain

I got a needed break this weekend and spent it away from the computer and writing jobs and word counts. Basically, any sort of critical thinking was left in Charlotte, but I did manage to read and re-read Don Delillo’s latest, “Point Omega”, while biding my time in airports. This is distinctive Delillo, and “Point Omega” further cements him as my favorite writer of all-time, hands down. Like his earlier works, Delillo tackles time, space and death, sticking three characters out in the desert where time is extinct, days passing outside of urban life’s “countdown to something”. Elster, the wise old man, a retired “risk assessment” specialist of the US government, talks like a professor, extolling wisdom in ways that Delillo only can. Jim, the budding filmmaker who follows Elster into the desert, desperately wants the old man to take part in his latest project. He takes on the role of the typical Delillo male lead, minus the drug use and rampant infidelities: Jaded, horny, prone to heavy internal dialogue. Then, there’s Jessie, Elster’s daughter, who comes and goes like an evening breeze.

Again, time is our central point here, and to further draw us into his brain, Delillo uses “24 Hour Psycho”, a real-life art exhibit from 2006 that slowed the classic Hitchcock film to a running time of 24 hours. The author’s point: There is profundity in life’s banality. What do we fail to see in our constant daily hurrying? At least, that’s one of the themes that presented itself.

There is plenty more depth than what appears on the surface, and Omega’s brevity (117  pages) allows readers to extract the richness that comes with any Delillo work.

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