This is the territory that Don DeLillo has been working in since the terrorist attacks on New York City in 2001 — in Cosmopolis in 2003, Falling Man in 2007, and in the new Point Omega. What state of mind, DeLillo has been asking, might a cataclysmic, shared event — the sort of event that immediately produces its own, where-were-you language, a language that then turns into a dynamic new form of speech or is forgotten — produce? What state of mind — what thoughts and dreams, fears and desires — should it produce? In DeLillo’s hands, this isn’t reporting. It isn’t sociology. It isn’t a study of morals. It’s an imaginative act of empathy — not a matter of a writer working out his or her particular neurotic responses to a public event, but attempting to step into the lives of other people as they might live out that event, or do whatever they can to deny it.
Cosmopolis is about — in words DeLillo used at a work-in-progress reading from the book at Princeton in 2002 . . .