POINT OMEGA - Don DeLillo

18 July 2021 ☼ notesfrom 20102010 booksmy 2021

a grey-ponytailed, septuagenarian academic (Elster) retreats, to recover from his participation in the build-up to the Iraq war, to the Arizona desert. he did not move troops - his role as Defence Intellectual’ was to conceptualise the Iraq War: to suggest how to think of it while it happened. he is visited by filmmaker Jim Finley who wants to use the academic as a talking head in a documentary about the war.

the story of three parts (arranged as a haiku) begins & ends with the perspective of an observer of Douglas Gordon’s film project 24 Hour Psycho (MoMA, 2006), in which the 109-­minute Hitchcock film Psycho (1960) was slowed to twitch frame-by-frame through a full 24 hours. 24 Hour Psycho is to Hitchcock’s film as Point Omega is to a novel about the Iraq war: acts of brutality & all the moments between become equal; nothing is relegated to the status of build-up’ or stray moment’ or aftermath’; all is treated as the main event, as worth studying. the author seems mesmerised by radically altered planes of time: The less there was to see, the harder he looked, the more he saw.” the slowed Psycho, the desert pressing in on them, that desolate end zone of ancient time, painstaking inventories of Elster’s and Finley’s movements.

If writing is a concentrated form of thinking,” DeLillo told The Paris Review in 1993, then the most concentrated writing probably ends in some kind of reflection on dying. This is what we eventually confront if we think long enough and hard enough.”

haiku formatting is intriguing. not readable as a narrative but worth reading regardless for grounding in its particular message. wonderful concept poorly executed (which even the author is noted to have admitted).

(18 July 2021: 746) - did not keep