Don DeLillo books in order
Don DeLillo is an American playwright, screenwriter, and award-winning author of literary fiction and postmodern literature.
His most notable works include Americana (1971), White Noise (1985), Point Omega (2010), Zero K (2016) and The Silence (2020).
Born and raised in New York City in a working-class Italian Catholic family, he attended Fordham University where he graduated in 1958, before proceeding to work as a copywriter at an advertising agency for a number of years.
DeLillo made his debut as a novelist with the release of Americana (1971)--the tale of a network TV executive in search of the “real” America.
Acclaimed for his postmodernist works depicting an America that is pampered by material excess and blinded by empty mass culture and politics, his books have drawn awards that include the PEN/Faulkner Award (1992) and the National Book Award (1985).
Genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Postmodern Literature
- Americana (1971)
- End Zone (1972)
- Great Jones Street (1973)
- Ratner's Star (1976)
- Running Dog (1978)
- Players (1978)
- The Names (1982)
- White Noise (1985)
- Libra (1988)
- Mao II (1991)
- Underworld (1997)
- The Body Artist (2001)
- Cosmopolis (2003)
- Falling Man (2007)
- Point Omega (2010)
- Zero K (2016)
- The Silence (2020)
- The Angel Esmeralda: Nine Stories (2011)
- Pafko at the Wall (2001)
- The Day Room (1986)
- Valparaiso (1999)
- Love-Lies-Bleeding (2002)
Detailed book overview
At twenty-eight, David Bell is the American Dream come true. He has fought his way to the top, surviving office purges and scandals to become a top television executive. David's world is made up of the images that flicker across America's screens, the fantasies that enthrall America's imagination.
When, at the height of his success, the dream (and the dream-making) become a nightmare, David sets out to rediscover reality. Camera in hand, he journeys across the country in a mad and moving attempt to capture and to impose a pattern on America's—and his own—past, present, and future.
At Logos College in West Texas, huge young men, vacuum-packed into shoulder pads and shiny helmets, play football with intense passion.
During an uncharacteristic winning season, the perplexed and distracted running back Gary Harkness has periodic fits of nuclear glee; he is fueled and shielded by his fear of and fascination with nuclear conflict.
Among oddly afflicted and recognizable players, the terminologies of football and nuclear war--the language of end zones--become interchangeable, and their meaning deteriorates as the collegiate year runs its course.
Bucky Wunderlick, rock star and budding messiah, has hit a spiritual wall. Unfulfilled by the excess of fame and fortune his revolutionary image has wrought, he bolts from his band mid-tour to hole up in a dingy East Village apartment and separate himself from the paranoid machine that propels the culture he has helped create. As faithful fans await messages, Bucky encounters every sort of roiling farce he is trying to escape.
One of DeLillo's first novels, Ratner's Star follows Billy, the genius adolescent, who is recruited to live in obscurity, underground, as he tries to help a panel of estranged, demented, and yet lovable scientists communicate with beings from outer space. It is a mix of quirky humor, science, mathematical theories, as well as the complex emotional distance and sadness people feel.
This book follows Moll Robbins, a New York city journalist trailing the activities of an influential senator. In the process she is dragged into the black market world of erotica and shady, infatuated men, where a cat-and-mouse chase for an erotic film rumored to "star" Adolph Hitler leads to trickery, maneuvering, and bloodshed. With streamlined prose and a thriller's narrative pace, Running Dog is a bright star in the modern master's early career.
Pammy and Lyle Wynant are an attractive, modern couple who seem to have it all. Yet behind their "ideal" life is a lingering boredom and quiet desperation: their talk is mostly chatter, their sex life more a matter of obligatory "satisfaction" than pleasure. Then Lyle sees a man killed on the floor of the Stock Exchange and becomes involved with the terrorists responsible; Pammy leaves for Maine with a homosexual couple.... And still they remain untouched, "players" indifferent to the violence that surrounds them, and that they have helped to create.
Set against the backdrop of a lush and exotic Greece, The Names is considered the book that began to drive "sharply upward the size of his readership" (Los Angeles Times Book Review).
Among the cast of DeLillo's bizarre yet fully realized characters in The Names are Kathryn, the narrator's estranged wife; their son, the six-year-old novelist; Owen, the scientist; and the neurotic narrator obsessed with his own neuroses.
A thriller, a mystery, and still a moving examination of family, loss, and the amorphous and magical potential of language itself, The Names stands with any of DeLillo's more recent and highly acclaimed works.
White Noise tells the story of Jack Gladney, his fourth wife, Babette, and four ultramodern offspring as they navigate the rocky passages of family life to the background babble of brand-name consumerism. When an industrial accident unleashes an "airborne toxic event," a lethal black chemical cloud floats over their lives. The menacing cloud is a more urgent and visible version of the "white noise" engulfing the Gladneys—radio transmissions, sirens, microwaves, ultrasonic appliances, and TV murmurings—pulsing with life, yet suggesting something ominous.
Director: Noah Baumbach
Cast: Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig, Raffey Cassidy, Jodie Turner-Smith, Don Cheadle, Lars Eidinger, André 3000, Gideon Glick
In this powerful, unsettling novel, Don DeLillo chronicles Lee Harvey Oswald's odyssey from troubled teenager to a man of precarious stability who imagines himself an agent of history. When "history" presents itself in the form of two disgruntled CIA operatives who decide that an unsuccessful attempt on the life of the president will galvanize the nation against communism, the scales are irrevocably tipped.
Bill Gray, a famous, reclusive novelist, emerges from his isolation when he becomes the key figure in an event staged to force the release of a poet hostage in Beirut. As Bill 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.
Don DeLillo's mesmerizing novel was a major bestseller when it was published in 1997 and was the most widely reviewed novel of the year. It opens with a legendary baseball game played between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants in 1951. The home run that won the game was called the Shot Heard Round the World, and was shadowed by the terrifying news that on the same day, Russia tested its first hydrogen bomb. Underworld then tells the story of Klara Sax and Nick Shay, and of a half century of American life during the Cold War and beyond.
In The Body Artist, Don DeLillo inhabits the muted world of Lauren Hartke, an artist whose work defies the limits of the body. Lauren is living on a lonely coast, in a rambling rented house, where she encounters a strange, ageless man, a man with uncanny knowledge of her own life. Together they begin a journey into the wilderness of time, love and human perception.
It is an April day in the year 2000 and an era is about to end. The booming times of market optimism—when the culture boiled with money and corporations seemed more vital and influential than governments— are poised to crash. Eric Packer, a billionaire asset manager at age twenty-eight, emerges from his penthouse triplex and settles into his lavishly customized white stretch limousine. Today he is a man with two missions: to pursue a cataclysmic bet against the yen and to get a haircut across town.
Stalled in traffic by a presidential motorcade, a music idol’s funeral and a violent political demonstration, Eric receives a string of visitors—experts on security, technology, currency, finance and a few sexual partners—as the limo sputters toward an increasingly uncertain future.
Director: David Cronenberg
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Sarah Gadon, Paul Giamatti, Kevin Durand, Abdul Ayoola, Juliette Binoche, Emily Hampshire
There is September 11 and then there are the days after, and finally the years.
Falling Man is a magnificent, essential novel about the event that defines turn-of-the-century America. It begins in the smoke and ash of the burning towers and tracks the aftermath of this global tremor in the intimate lives of a few people.
First there is Keith, walking out of the rubble into a life that he'd always imagined belonged to everyone but him. Then Lianne, his es-tranged wife, memory-haunted, trying to reconcile two versions of the same shadowy man. And their small son Justin, standing at the window, scanning the sky for more planes.
These are lives choreographed by loss, grief and the enormous force of history.
Brave and brilliant, Falling Man traces the way the events of September 11 have reconfigured our emotional landscape, our memory and our perception of the world. It is cathartic, beautiful, heartbreaking.
We see Richard Elster at the end of his service. He has retreated to the desert, in search of space and geologic time. There he is joined by a filmmaker and by Elster’s daughter Jessica—an “otherworldly” woman from New York. The three of them build an odd, tender intimacy, something like a family. Then a devastating event turns detachment into colossal grief, and it is a human mystery that haunts the landscape of desert and mind.
Jeffrey Lockhart’s father, Ross, is a billionaire in his sixties, with a younger wife, Artis Martineau, whose health is failing. Ross is the primary investor in a remote and secret compound where death is exquisitely controlled and bodies are preserved until a future time when biomedical advances and new technologies can return them to a life of transcendent promise. Jeff joins Ross and Artis at the compound to say “an uncertain farewell” to her as she surrenders her body.
“We are born without choosing to be. Should we have to die in the same manner? Isn’t it a human glory to refuse to accept a certain fate?” These are the questions that haunt the novel and its memorable characters, and it is Ross Lockhart, most particularly, who feels a deep need to enter another dimension and awake to a new world. For his son, this is indefensible. Jeff, the book’s narrator, is committed to living, to experiencing “the mingled astonishments of our time, here, on earth.”
It is Super Bowl Sunday in the year 2022. Five people, dinner, an apartment on the east side of Manhattan. The retired physics professor and her husband and her former student waiting for the couple who will join them from what becomes a dramatic flight from Paris. The conversation ranges from a survey telescope in North-central Chile to a favorite brand of bourbon to Einstein’s 1912 Manuscript on the Special Theory of Relativity.
Then something happens and the digital connections that have transformed our lives are severed.
From one of the greatest writers of our time, his first collection of short stories, written between 1979 and 2011, chronicling—and foretelling—three decades of American life
Set in Greece, the Caribbean, Manhattan, a white-collar prison and outer space, these nine stories are a mesmerizing introduction to Don DeLillo’s iconic voice, from the rich, startling, jazz-infused rhythms of his early work to the spare, distilled, monastic language of the later stories.
In “Creation,” a couple at the end of a cruise somewhere in the West Indies can’t get off the island—flights canceled, unconfirmed reservations, a dysfunctional economy.
In “Human Moments in World War III,” two men orbiting the earth, charged with gathering intelligence and reporting to Colorado Command, hear the voices of American radio, from a half century earlier.
In the title story, Sisters Edgar and Grace, nuns working the violent streets of the South Bronx, confirm the neighborhood’s miracle, the apparition of a dead child, Esmeralda.
"There's a long drive.
It's gonna be.
The Giants win the pennant.
The Giants win the pennant.
The Giants win the pennant.
The Giants win the pennant."
-- Russ Hodges, October 3, 1951
On the fiftieth anniversary of "The Shot Heard Round the World," Don DeLillo reassembles in fiction the larger-than-life characters who on October 3, 1951, witnessed Bobby Thomson's pennant-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Jackie Gleason is razzing Toots Shor in Leo Durocher's box seats; J. Edgar Hoover, basking in Sinatra's celebrity, is about to be told that the Russians have tested an atomic bomb; and Russ Hodges, raw-throated and excitable, announces the game -- the Giants and the Dodgers at the Polo Grounds in New York.
DeLillo's transcendent account of one of the iconic events of the twentieth century is a masterpiece of American sportswriting.
A man sets out on an ordinary business trip to Valparaiso, Indiana. It turns out to be a mock-heroic journey toward identity and transcendence.
This is Don DeLillo's second play, and it is funny, sharp, and deep-reaching. Its characters tend to have needs and desires shaped by the forces of broadcast technology.
This is the way we talk to each other today. This is the way we tell each other things, in public, before listening millions, that we don't dare to say privately.
Nothing is allowed to be unseen. Nothing remains unsaid. And everything melts repeatedly into something else, as if driven by the finger on the TV remote.
This is also a play that makes obsessive poetry out of the language of routine airline announcements and the flow of endless information.
Three people gather to determine the fate of the man who sits in a straight-backed chair saying nothing. He is Alex Macklin, who gave up easel painting to do land art in the southwestern desert, and he is seventy now, helpless in the wake of a second stroke. The people around him are the bearers of a complicated love, his son, his young wife, the older woman -- his wife of years past -- who feels the emotional tenacity of a love long-ended.
It is their question to answer. When does life end, and when should it end? In this remote setting, without seeking medical or legal guidance, they move unsteadily toward last things.