Angel Esmeralda by Don DeLillo

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Separating DeLillo’s parts from their larger contexts is like isolating a single shimmering block of colour from a Rothko painting — it misses the point and falls short of realizing DeLillo’s always lofty, often exhilarating ambitions. His novels are dense and totemic.
-National Post arts

Synopsis

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.

Nuns, astronauts, athletes, terrorists and travelers, the characters in The Angel Esmeralda propel themselves into the world and define it. DeLillo’s sentences are instantly recognizable, as original as the splatter of Jackson Pollock or the luminous rectangles of Mark Rothko. These nine stories describe an extraordinary journey of one great writer whose prescience about world events and ear for American language changed the literary landscape.
 

About Don DeLillo

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Don DeLillo is the author of fifteen novels, including Underworld, Falling Man, White Noise, and Libra. He has won the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the Jerusalem Prize for his complete body of work, and the William Dean Howells Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2010, he was awarded the PEN/Saul Bellow Prize. The Angel Esmeralda was a finalist for the 2011 Story Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. In October 2012, DeLillo receives the Carl Sandburg Literary Award for his body of work.
 
Published November 15, 2011 by Scribner. 228 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Angel Esmeralda
All: 3 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 2

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Mark O'Connell on Sep 08 2012

As always, DeLillo's dialogue combines impeccable colloquialism with laconic, epigrammatic deadpan.

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WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Sam Sacks on Nov 15 2011

Midway through the stories in "The Angel Esmeralda," as happens in many of Mr. DeLillo's novels, the reader wearies of his avoidance of "real things." Only in the title story (which is actually an excerpt from "Underworld"), about a nun in a New York housing project, does anyone selflessly "face the real terror of the streets."

Read Full Review of Angel Esmeralda | See more reviews from WSJ online

National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Jose Teodoro on Aug 03 2016

Separating DeLillo’s parts from their larger contexts is like isolating a single shimmering block of colour from a Rothko painting — it misses the point and falls short of realizing DeLillo’s always lofty, often exhilarating ambitions. His novels are dense and totemic.

Read Full Review of Angel Esmeralda | See more reviews from National Post arts

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