Cosmopolis Discussion Group: Downfall, Decay and Destruction

Good morning and welcome back. We chauffeurs we’re thrilled with last week’s enthusiastic response to our Cosmopolis discussion group. You guys are knocked our socks off (very vague ‘Eric losing his socks’ reference – ignore me) with your questions, interpretations and insights. Thank you!

ANNOUNCEMENT: We’re going to have a “Round Two” of general book discussion next week. We are very aware that copies of Cosmopolis aren’t readily available (I don’t have a hard copy yet either). So, no worries, we’ll open up the limo for those who need to catch up.

Today’s discussion will be spoiler-y.

Today’s topic is specific yet a very dominant theme of the book. I’m no expert so I’m opening the floor to opinions and questions. Let’s try to find as many references as possible to Eric’s gradual ruin. One of the things I like best about this book is the poetic language – I like when something that should be gross, repulsive is described so beautifully that you question yourself. (I’m deep today!)

At what point do you think Eric is committed to destroying his empire? Himself?

Here’s one of my own questions: Does Eric orchestrate being ‘delivered’ to Benno/Richard’s doorstep? Or is it chance? (help me)

A little visual to inspire us… See you in the comments.

Money, clothes... what else does Eric lose along the way?
  • Pingback: Meninas Vampiras » Blog Archive » Rob em Cosmopolis: foto inspiração()

  • Annie

    I think the specifics, especially location, were chance but I think he knew that his actions that day would cause an attempt on his life.

    • The ending is driving me nuts! I’m not sure if it was chance. *grumbles* I hate when I can’t make sense of something.

  • Eileen

    I think unconsciously he had made the decision before the novel starts. He is disconnected from the world in his ‘ivory tower’ or in his limo, he is bored and doesn’t know what to do, no challenges anymore, no satisfaction. Nothing is as perfect (asymmetrical prostate!) as he thought they were/would be. He doubts if he can ever have a grip on life. He watches the birds that are free and he wants to be free of the world he’s living in and go back to the way things were during his childhood (haircut in his old neighborhood) and nobody and nothing is going to stop him. He made his decision. He has to lose to be able to gain. I believe that on the way during the limo ride the opportunity is given to him and he takes it.

    • This makes sense to me. I felt like he was saying goodbye to his apartment when he left in the morning.
      “He went back up to the living quarters, walking slowly now, and paused in every room, absorbing what was there, deeply seeing, retaining every fleck of energy in rays and waves.”

      • Eileen

        Yeah, I also had the feeling he was not going to return there. Also because the further away from home he was, the more money he lost, the better/freer and more alive he felt. In the end stripped of everything (even his clothes *yummie*) he was finally able to make love to his wife as an individual which was beautiful. I think Eric was very courageous and a hero in a strange and twisted kind of way.

      • rpattzgirl

        I don’t have a lot to add as I’m
        Not through reading yet, but I do agree he made the choices and that he was saying goodbye to his apartment during his walk through and building as he went outside.
        I almost feel like he’s purposely leaving pieces of himself all around…
        I also think he’s really bored and putting himself out there for these reasons…

        Other than that…I’m still confused so need to keep reading…

        • Eileen

          Don’t worry, I guess we are all more or less confused. Eric is absolutely not an easy character to understand and wait until you read Benno’s thoughts. This man is really (excuse me) f*cked up!

          • he certainly is fucked up. *eyes chauffeurs*

          • Marina H.

            🙂

          • *eye twitch*

    • love the ivory tower metaphor

  • dazzledtodeath

    I think Eric sensed that his downfall (including his death) was inevitable, and he embraced it. He was enlivened by the chaos in the streets and I think it was kind of a thrill for him to lose vast amounts of money-he became more determined to lose it all, knowing it would have far-reaching effects.He seemed to be paranoid about his health and I think it was troubling to him that his father died young, apparently of cancer, and he himself had an asymmetrical prostate (which could indicate prostate cancer). He got rid of his bodyguards and had his driver leave him in a dangerous neighborhood. I don’t think he knew that it was Benno who was trying to kill him, or that he lived there, but he left himself completely vulnerable and made no real attempt to save himself.

    • Eileen

      I was also thinking about the asymmetrical prostate thing and Eric’s father who died of cancer. I think he was very conscious (daily exams) of this ticking time-bomb in his body and I believe that that was also one of the reasons why he could accept his (still being whole and healthy) early death relatively easy.

      • dazzledtodeath

        We don’t know how long he’s known he had an asymmetrical prostate-if he found out recently, that could account for his sleeplessness and unrest, and I def think it has to do with his acceptance of his fate and his determination to feel alive and go for broke (literally). There’s definitely a sense of inevitability about it.

        • Eileen

          I believe that his sleepless nights had something to do with fear for his health (cancer), about having doubts (not being able to control) and his safety.
          I also believe that Eric is the kind of guy who would prefer to die healthy and (forever) young than to die a slow death of cancer. His death was inevitable anyway and as the control freak he was I think he even chose the way he wanted to die.

          • dazzledtodeath

            This might be a stretch but I wondered if losing the money before he died was cleansing-a way to atone for his ruthlessness and his opulent but empty lifestyle. I also thought maybe he sought redemption by dying at the hands of a disgruntled employee, who had been treated poorly by his company and was just a nameless face to Eric, and this helped him to accept it. It’s kind of poetic and I could see it appealing to Eric.

          • Eileen

            Not a bad thought at all!

          • I like this too. When the homeless lady asks him for money he feels ashamed that he doesn’t have anything, not even a coin, to give her. This is the complete opposite of the conversation he has with Didi about buying art… see he’s still making plans at that point. He hadn’t completely decided this was the end of the line.

            DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN

          • Loisada

            I don’t know if I’d call Eric’s suicide an atonement, but it is a moral act. He knows that his death will reestablish a balance in a world out of whack. Because a man with his wealth and power should not exist. Benno sums this up:

            “You have to die for how you think and act. For your apartment and what you paid for it. For your daily medical checkups. This alone. Medical checkups every day. For how much you had and how much you lost, equally. No less for losing it than making it. For the limousine that displaces the air that people need to breathe in Bangladesh. This alone.”

            Eric understands this. But there is no justice in the free market system gone wild, so he brings the justice himself be precipitating his own demise. And in doing so, he reestablishes a cosmic balance, of sorts.

            This novel is an indictment…

          • raandy

            i think it was more about control. He kept his daily check ups so he could stay in control of this “cancer” which, i think, could be a metaphor for him and his empire. as soon as he found out about his prostate, he wanted to bring himself done- keep the power, control his own demise. Bringing down the cancer, bringing down himself. as i type this, your comment makes for sense. ridding himself of cancer (by taking himself down) is ridding the world from him- his “cancer”. ahh i hope this makes sense. it sure does in my mind.

          • makes sense to me 🙂

          • I agree! I read it as Eric believing that his death was inevitable. He believed that an asymmetrical prostate was an indication of cancer, and I do believe that the reason for his DAILY prostate exams was related to his fear of being caught by surprise by the illness, like his father (“We die because it’s the weekend”). He has a desperate need to be in control of things and the day in the limo he is thinking of how he wants to die. He’s not afraid of the violence going on around him in the city (more fascinated and inspired), because he has already come to terms with his pending demise. When he realizes that his idol has died from a common heart disease he realizes that he, who won’t be mourned in the same way, will have to die a “better” death. I think he actively seeks out his stalker, because Benno can offer the kind of ending he is interested in. By actively I mean that Eric found him in the same way he always seems to find Elise…a magnetic pull?

    • What if he just liked being fingered and touched by his doctor every day?

  • Marina H.

    Oh Eric…you sad man. Morning ladies! I love all the subtle hits surrounding Eric’s day that hint to his eventual downfall. I’m not going to beat around the bush I’m just gonna list them:

    – Losing clothes (Not that I’m complaining!)
    – The destruction of his limo
    – The gradual loss of staff
    – His obvious loss of money
    – The need to get a hair cut…losing more pieces of himself

    I think Eric is committed to “the Yen” as soon as the book starts. He knows he’s fighting a losing battle, i feel like it’s more or less him coming to terms with it. And I think at the end of the book he does.

    I don’t think he orchestrated his meeting of Benno in the end of the book I think it was the natural end of his plot line. A detail that I absolutely love is that his “journey” has taken him all the way across town from his wealthy apartment to Hell’s Kitchen. I think that is very significant as well.

    What I don’t understand is how Benno knew that he would end up at his hideout. Was he purposely located next to the limo drop-off? That’s what confuses me.

    Can’t wait to read everyone’s comments!

    • Annie

      I think Benno did choose that location on purpose but didn’t know when his opportunity would arise.

      • dazzledtodeath

        At the beginning and again near the end Eric wonders where the stretch limos go at night. Benno’s apartment is right next to the parking garage where Eric gets out. Normally Eric wouldn’t be at the garage-on this night he was. It’s too coincidental.

    • Eileen

      I live in Greece and I have been to New York only once a long time ago and I don’t remember much. I wish I knew the city and the places and parts of the town Eric passes during the limo ride, because that would make me understand things better. Is it so that when he still has his money he starts off in a rich part of town and while losing money during the ride the neighborhoods get poorer and more dangerous. Or do I get this wrong?

      • Marina H.

        no your totally right! He has a very symbolic journey though the neighborhoods of NYC.

      • dazzledtodeath

        that’ s correct.

      • Just go to google maps and start roaming.

    • dazzledtodeath

      I think the haircut is symbolic of him losing his power, or his essence (Samson). It’s the whole point of his journey-to get a haircut. There’s loads of symbolism in this book-I love it 🙂

      • Ooo I hadn’t thought of the Samson thing! Good one!

        • Eileen

          Yeah, I love this one too and it proves that in the beginning of the book when he wants to have a haircut, he makes the conscious decision to go for the downfall!

      • Loisada

        Taking a haircut is also investment slang for suffering a devastating loss of capital. And so he has his epiphany (or at last feels a real WANT) and makes his decision right on the 3rd page of the book: “He didn’t know what he wanted. Then he knew. He wanted to get a haircut.”

        This comes right before one of my favorite images in the book, when Eric stands watching the gull lift through the air, “thinking into it, trying to know the bird, feeling the sturdy earnest beat of its scavenger’s ravenous heart.”

        He takes lift with the bird. (I love the oneness between beings, the erasing of surfaces (skin) that separates them.)

        He’s also a scavenger himself, and he’ll be ravenously satisfying all kinds of appetites throughout the rest of the day.

  • Eric set in motion (the forward thrust) his suicidal plan before the day even dawned. His attack on the yen was well planned in advance. It’s an all or nothing bet, winner takes everything and loser is devastated. This is way he chooses to go out. He could back out of that pact, but he choses not to.

    Jane tells him before she leaves that “there is still time to chose.” But he shuts her out. He decides to let the scenario play out. At that point he seems to have realized and accepted that this will indeed be the day he dies. Because, in theory, the yen could have started to drop. And he would have won the bet, so he would live to die another day. (Perhaps he actually knew it wouldn’t drop, and was betting against himself all along… this is never implicit for me).

    Then Eric would have needed to come up with an even more spectacular plan to bring it all crashing down. But as it is, the yen keeps rising and when he realizes this, he knows it’s over. And he doesn’t fight it… it’s going to be THIS day. And so in this sense the market decides this will be the specific day he dies, when the yen keeps rising.

    The metaphor for this is the blackhead on his stomach. The doctor tells him not to do anything about it, to “let it express itself.” And that’s what Eric does, lets things play out.

    After that point he helps it along. Knowing his fortune is gone, he wipes out Elise’s money to set things “straight” between them. To even the playing field of sorts. And he removes the obstacle to his suicide (Torval), the thing keeping his natural nemesis (Benno) from getting to him.

    • Loisada

      I am also wondering if Benno is Eric’s alter-ego. This harkens back to doubles and mirror images and simulacra. In this, whenever the double becomes visual, death is imminent.

      And all the sex is an eternal melding linked to death as well. So much to think about in this book!

      • Marina H.

        That’s something to think about with Benno. It’s like he is all of Eric’s paranoia in one person. The paranoia he doesn’t deal with on his own.

      • Eileen

        I read this about the connection between sex and death and it made me think of Eric :
        In a sex act, you feel a certain death, as if you are no more. If you have really gone into the act totally you are merged. Your individual entity disappears and a greater force than you takes over. The sex act starts as a voluntary act, but it never ends as a voluntary act. A point comes where your voluntary mechanism is taken over by the non-voluntary. A point comes when your ego cannot exist and the non-ego is in power, in control. You feel a sudden death of the ego; you feel you are dying.
        That blissful moment when your ego is lost and you are merged into existence is a certain death; death of the ego, death of the conscious; death of your individuality.

        • Loisada

          Orgasm is “the little death” that totally releases your conscious mind, seen by some as a moment when you reach a oneness with “God,” and by others as that moment out of time when you lose yourself in the hustle and flow (thrust!) of the cosmos!

        • Le petit mort. Is my French correct? Or is there an e in mort? Quote is from Freud.

          • Loisada

            La petite mort.. also the main goal of reading literature in Barthes’ eyes!

    • Marina H.

      hee hee. you said “thrust.”

      Really good point about the blackhead. I hadn’t gone back to think about that.

      • Yep, that’s what she said!

  • rpattzgirl

    Now that I have finished, I do believe he started this day with the thought he would not be returning…
    close to the end, thinking that he should have shot his dogs before he left, letting the shark go free…
    He’s found his freedom…it’s actually a very sad story..money, power, looks, he had everything and yet he had nothing.

  • DebbieCDC (aka Seattle Chik)

    Can’t participate today because I don’t want to see the spoilers!! Didn’t get to finish over the weekend like I planned (dammit), but just from reading the first question at the top of the page, I think he decided to destory his empire after he got tasered. To me the whole theme is this journey Eric is on, not just physically across Manhattan in the car, but emotionally/mentally/spiritually, trying to find out/determine who or what he really is.

    And there is NO DOUBT how poetic the language of the book is. I made that same comment right off the bat in the first discussion — that it read almost more like poetry than prose.

    Now I say this with about 20 pgs left to read, so something yet to come may cause me to change my opinion(s) LOL.

    And, um, thanks for that visual……

  • pingvingirl

    I think what happens is inevitable from the beginning- there’s a sense of him looking back as he looks round his apartment, or even up at the tower as he leaves it. I don’t think he’s planned his own destruction just at that stage, although it’s almost like a series of goodbyes from his meeting with Didi onwards. It’s as though he’s testing chaos theory with the haircut plan- what will happen if he does one thing that’s out of character, or not normally part of his daily routine? He’s lost his certainty right from the start- Didi says “You’re beginning to think it’s more interesting to doubt than to act,” and I think that’s exactly where he is at that point. He has nothing left to achieve but his own destruction. The whole day seems like his life flashing before his eyes.

    In the beginning he’s scared of death- the obsession about his asymmetrical prostate, though he’s never asked what it means and the daily medical examinations seem to demonstrate that. But when he sees death- like Arthur Rapp, or the protester who sets himself on fire, it seems that he begins to embrace it- because, he notes, it changes everything. “The market was not total. It could not claim this man or assimilate his act. Not such starkness and horror. This was a thing outside its reach.” By then, Eric has decided he is outside its reach too and everything he does seems calculated to contribute to his own downfall.

    I find it weirdly moving- he’s been living this very privileged, powerful life that’s almost sterile so that the only real choice that seems to be open to him is to go out in a blaze of glory. And I really need to read this book again. And again.

    • “The whole day seems like his life flashing before his eyes.” I thought about this too! …in a way he’s returning to his childhood. The hair cut has to take place at the very parlor where he went with his father as a child, and he’s going there from his present in wealthy upscale part of the city. Along the way he is gradually losing his gathered wealth, losing parts of his built up exterior (i.e. clothes) and parts of the fasad he has built up against the world. He’s going back to scratch, back to the beginning, and at the same time to the end…ugh, I need to think this through cuz I can’t make sense of my own thoughts right now!

      • Loisada

        Time flows in all directions in the book (I don’t want to say just forwards and backwards, because it’s not simply linear). But remember the importance also of Chin sitting in the jump seat, riding backwards. The one chair that doesn’t face forwards or backwards is the barber’s chair: it swivels.

        There is a time warp here. I found a great article about modern currency markets that sums up what has happened to time in Eric’s world.

        http://www.socsci.uci.edu/~dorjsoli/Singapore_Revised_Nov_2008.pdf

        • Loisada

          Oops… this is the quote

          “But marketization, which has also entailed enterprises being urged to push for profit, with the less well-endowed firms shunted into bankruptcy, their former workers abandoned to unemployment, and the privatization of benefits that had once been state-funded and guaranteed–meant that for the others, those who lost their jobs and with them their welfare and wherewithal, if not their homes and their health–the years since this set of alterations began to unfurl (especially over those years in the second half of the so-termed “reform period”) have seen not forward motion but time warp, and their steps are downward, a descent. Again, to delineate the label I use, “time warp” specifies “a hypothetical discontinuity or distortion occurring in the flow of time that would move events from one time period to another or suspend the passage of time.” Alternatively, the notion conveys a circumstance in which something has “not changed even though everyone or everything else has; an imaginary situation in which the past or future becomes the present.”2

        • Wow, yeah that sounds interesting! Don’t have time to read the pdf though…
          What significance do you think the fact that the barber’s chair swivels has? Does it function as a epicenter of time?

          • Is this what the TV show Lost was actually about?? *cheeky grin* Eric is just trying to get to the Island…

          • *giggle* …I know I’m getting a bit Lost here 😉

        • Nice on the barber chair turning. Turning but not down or up. There are no poles in the simulated universe. If there are no opposite extremes nothing can be measured. If no measurement then no real, no reality. With no equal and opposite poles, then asymmetry. His prostate, his hair cut and the killer tell him his prostate is telling him about asymmetry. The world is radical, asymmetrical. The movement of the yen is asymmetrical. The yen is a yen, a want, desire and Eric cannot buy enough of it. Desire is inextricably merged with lack. As Eric buys more and more (but you cannot buy desire) the yen goes up (he can’t get enough and he is hungry). Eric has been looking for the pure, the Platonic ideal pattern. He has been buying yen and looking for its behavior. Subject and object each influences the other so one can ever know. Particle physics:A particle cannot be measured and its velocity calculated at the same time. It is one or the other. The experimenter cannot avoid influencing the subject so an experiment has to be a doubleblind one. The experimenter cannot know whether the drug is real or a placebo and neither can the subject. We are now in the reality of quantum physics and the only thinking left to us is paradox.

          The killer has told him the universe is asymmetrical. I am getting in too deep here without building a structure to stand on.

          If you try to use a psychological interpretive approach you are using thinking that is false for the reality we are in. It is the root of Western thinking and it must be left behind. Hard to do when we all have bend taught so carefully to think this way.

          In Social Network it is the difference between the two partners of Facebook and the influence of Shaun Parker of Napster. There are layers of this in SN.

        • I took a look and read enough to know that it is within the prevailing discourse of interpretation. Sontag in 1961 wrote her now famous essay Against Interpretation which Foucault has demolished along with Deleuze and Baudrillard only she did it better and earlier. Leaves of Grass-film-does it in about 3 or 4 sentences. Interpretation goes on forever into the horizon like the Lone Ranger. No end in sight as each person adds their interpretation and then it all is reinterpreted on and on and on. Or the interpretation goes back and back in history to get to the origin until you are so far back that the threads get thiner and more raggedy until they disappear. But it’s a fun academic game to play and we all have learned it. That way we get to show how smart we are. No dummies here!

          Too bad she is wasting her mind doing this. Email her Foucault’s The Archeology of Knowledge. I started doing this on Twilight and the meaning just shines. Nietzsche started it with his Genealogy of Morals and Foucault jumped on it having been alerted by Heidegger. Baudrillard was a genealogist before he leaped into the abyss. And that is where Eric is when he finally gets that he/we are in catastrophe. The old rules are dead and if there are new rules, they are unknown. So people are making their own. Social Network more explicit than De Lillo who is more philosophical.

    • dazzledtodeath

      Subconsciously I believe Eric knew that wouldn’t be returning to his apartment. I don’t think it was a concrete decision that this would be the day he’d lose his fortune and his life, but it came to him gradually over the course of his experiences in the limo. I think by the end of the first half of the book, he knows what he’s going to do. The haircut is a metaphor for what will happen to him, but I don’t believe he’s fully aware of this in the very beginning. I think it all comes together for him gradually and once he sets his course he’s determined to follow through.
      I agree, it is moving to see this man who came from a humble start, attained unimaginable wealth and power, yet he’s so disconnected from humanity that nothing really reaches him. I think the scene with the stun gun is a perfect example of how numb he is and how desperately he wanted to feel something.
      He has everything, yet really has nothing. His life is anything but enviable.

      I also noticed in the scene with Didi that he seems almost affectionate towards her-I didn’t get this from his interactions with any character, even his wife. He puts his face in her hair, licks her ear and lies next to her. It was quite different in tone from his encounter with Kendra-I couldn’t help but wonder if he saw her as a mother figure? He acted like a naughty child with her, lol.

      • Didi taught him to see. And no one saw Rob before Kristen. she even said on Oprah-concerning the audition- that sometimes you just know a person, you see them. In Avatar they did not say I love you they said I see you. I love John Berger’s Ways of Seeing and all his other essays on art which are all about seeing. You learn to see the truth in a work of art says Benjamin and a critique is about the true in it. When you talk about the content then you have commentary and interpretation. Each excludes the other.

        • dazzledtodeath

          No one saw Rob before Kristen??? Okaaayy…

          Is this the Cosmopolis discussion group or the Robsten discussion group?

          • I believe the comment was referring to casting not his importance as a person. And one comment is not a discussion it is a comment. This is clearly a COSMOPOLIS blog and discussion group.

            Carry on…

          • Loisada

            Discussion of the visual perceptiveness and thought processes of artists is more than apt. And no one around here would even think of uttering the *R…n* word. Why try to bring them or this discussion down to that level…

        • Loisada

          Very interesting give/take and learning/teaching relations between men and women throughout the novel. I do fear moviegoers will see Eric as a cheating manwhore who treats women despicably, when nothing could be further from the truth…..

          • Loisada

            Ah… no delete or edit buttons. You’ve actually made me miss Disqus!

          • Kim

            So far that seems to be the surface of what he is, who or what could break through this? Have not finished it yet.

        • Loisada

          Very interesting give/take and learning/teaching relations between men and women throughout the novel. I do fear moviegoers will see Eric as a cheating manwhore who treats women despicably, when nothing could be further from the truth…..

  • Aussiegirl

    Wow – We antipodean girls are late to the party. I love everyone’s take on Eric’s downfall. I have been contemplating a slightly different idea. Perhaps not so much an idea as a feeling (channeling my inner Delillo).

    Eric’s sleeplessness has given way to deep hypothesising about life and it’s meaning and his place in the world. As he thinks at the start:

    When he died he would not end. The world would end.

    Perhaps the day was a test to his infallibility. How far could he push the world around him? Break with standards of behaviour. Right at the end he says to himself “Shit. I’m dead.” It seems revelatory to him.

  • Kim

    Hi! Well I’m only on page 88, so tried not to read too much here yet. I think if there is a turning point to what you all are talking about a conscious decision so to speak it’s when he asks Elise to recite to him. She refuses and I think he begs a bit. His life is so not real and he wants something real from her, cause she isn’t giving anything to him. So he wants her to recite and hear something awesome and real from her. Like maybe, just possibly this marriage could become real. I think so far that’s it.
    This sentence I can’t get out of my mind “The palest thought carried an anxious shadow”. Like you said prose or what?

    • Kim

      Possibly, rather probably I will have a different viewpoint when I read further.
      Also did not understand the chapter on Benno, is that the end right there in the middle?
      OK don’t tell me, I’ll know soon enough.

      • I hadn’t thought of that! I’m going to reread the Benno section today. Great thought. 🙂

      • BewitchedByRob

        Many thanks to those (Deb, Tink, Marina…hope I’m not forgetting anyone else) who made this site and these discussions possible. The discussions have been a godsend in helping to decifer and unearth the many layers this book seems to have. Because of the discussions, I’ve
        begun to see the brilliance of Don DeLillo. It’s an acquired taste, not one I would have gravitated towards and swallowed, if it weren’t for Rob. With that said, I’m not sure I’m anxious to pick up another of his books anytime soon.

        I admit, on first read through, the more I got into the story, the more nervous I became in seeing Rob in this role and how Cronenberg will ultimately interpret it to film. I have no doubt, that Rob can work his magic/pull it off. I’m excited to see him do something like this in one sense. However, it’s different. It’s dark. It’s deep. It’s strange. And because of those 4 things, a part of me is hoping, beyond all hope, that Cronenberg’s vision for the film, will make it less those 4 things. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I hope it’s not so twisted, that many people are left scratching their heads leaving the theater. Inception comes close to that. Many I know, didn’t “get” that movie and neither did I. The only movie I can say, that I’ve seen, that was a true “mindf*uck.
        Does anyone here, feel the same type of fear for this movie?

        • Thanks! We’re all getting so much from these discussions. 🙂

          I know what you mean about the “twisted” nature of the material and, likely, the film. I’m not worried about this one BUT I do admit to being worried about Bel Ami. My worry with that one is that it will end up too “porn-y” *ducks from pitchforks*. But at the end of the day, the actors make their choices and work with directors that, hopefully, know what they’re doing. With this one, I trust Cronenberg but I also don’t really expect a “Hollywood blockbuster” end product. Rob signed on knowing this would be edgy and weird and probably controversial. He’s shaking things up! And I’m gonna enjoy the show. 🙂

          I liked Inception, even if I didn’t completely “get” all the complexities of it. Cosmopolis will probably be like that but we’ll have a head start after studying together. Now, about the rat… 😉

        • Kim

          How can they bring to film some of the fabulous lines in this book, through art or graphics or music?
          I mean the doctor scene is almost comical, sorry, shocking in a way.
          Might be hard to keep a straight face for that.
          I lost interest in Inception/but I know many really liked it.

          • i don’t think it’ll come across as comical. i can understand how you might feel that way based on reading it. however (and this is his responsibility), cronenberg will direct the scene in such a way that it’s likely intense, bizarre, yet arousing because of the jane element.

        • Red_Headed_Lust

          I’m not finished reading yet, but I certainly can see this movie having an Inception-like multi-layered mindfuck quality. Thing is, I love a good mindfuck and, as such, loved Inception. I think we need to trust Cronenberg.

        • KittyC

          That thought ran through my mind, too. I’m hoping that with Rob’s as yet unseen depth and with Cronenberg’s direction, this book will be lucidly translated to film, and that many will ‘get it’ as well as be ‘entertained’.

  • It is not Eric’s downfall. Howells wrote The Rise of Silas Lapham (contemporary of Henry James the writer) but Lapham lost all his nouveau riche money. De Lillo may be making a play on that but then again he may not be. Eric is Leopold Bloom in Ulysses with his journey in a day referring to Ulysses who took 20 years to get home from the Trojan War.

    Eric has chosen death because he has seen Impossible Exchange and so his death must be sacrificial. The end is a lot like Alice’s visions, eh? Lewis Carroll and Through the Looking Glass. Stephenie is no dope as the literary critics would have you believe.

    • Loisada

      How can novels written with the vocabulary of a 12-year-old be consciously expounding upon any of this? Are you implying she has some kind of instinctual intelligence that allowed her to grasp undercurrents that she expressed to the best of her abilities through a supernatural love story? It’s very difficult to imagine a writer/thinker/reader even grappling with these concepts without the tools (words) to do so… (Again, it makes me think of SM more as an oracle a la Joseph Smith, with his revelation in his own meadow and the handing over of the golden plates.) I’m not being snide, I seriously do not follow your jump here…

      • Yes that is exactly what I am implying. Not to worry as you are in the company of everyone else. Except the twihards who do instinctively understand what it is saying to them. Updike in his Gertrude and Claudius told the same story-theme actually-in his backstory of Hamlet. In beautiful language, just a masterpiece really, with great literary recognition and with nowhere near the readership or devotion that Stephenie has gotten. Because she wrote it in a language preadolescent and adolescent girls could grasp. The fact that we are here is proof that something was there. And no I do not believe Stephenie was at all conscious of what she was really doing. Just taking Wuthering Heights and Romeo and Juliet and making nice with it. But what is the backstory of those two outstanding books?

        • And making nice with Cosmopolis isn’t going to do it either. It is not just a sexy story of a financier’s downfall. It is a philosophical indictment of the entire world. And Eric’s waking up! Just in time for Symbolic Exchange, his sacrificial death. Cronenberg knows exactly what it is about. So does Social Network.

          C’mon let me write a head piece on the sex in it for you.

          • Loisada

            No one around here is going to complain about delving into exchanges more sexual than symbolic…

            Time for a new thread Deb?!

          • YES! That was one of the things that jumped out at me… each woman, each encounter is highly unique, symbolic. Filling a distinct need for Eric.

            New Post tomorrow. Save your sexy thoughts. 😉

        • Loisada

          Meyers surfing the zeitgist?

          or
          Tapping into an undercurrent that any woman who’s been holed up at home tending babies feels rumbling under her feet and through her aching soul?

        • KittyC

          Sometimes ‘magic’ happens and I believe that’s what Twilight is. Just the way the story ‘found’ Stephenie, in a nearly lucid dream sequence, the first meadow scene, and it all flowed from there. I calls it magic. I put off reading these silly vampire/werewolf teenage ‘fluff’ until I picked up a paperback of Twilight merely on whim in February 2010, and I’ll never be the same. I am 65 years old. There be magic there.

          • Loisada

            Welcome aboard Kitty. You may indeed be right, as SM has certainly made me reconsider the magical power of words… especially when they’re thrown out like a spell to a starving audience!

      • KittyC

        I cannot agree with you that Stephenie wrote the Twilight novels with the vocabulary of 12 year olds. I am 65 and I laughed, I cried, I was carried away. She even says that she did not specifically write them for the Young Adult market, that was decided by the publisher. Not only am I 65, I am an extremely demanding reading, I have been a ‘bookworm’ since I learned to read at 4 years old. I am a regular “Annie” (remember Cathy Bates in “Misery”?) – I have been known to rip pages out of books and throw them in the trash and never read that author again when they ‘cheat’. I certainly do not equate myself with 12 year old readers. Have you actually talked to any 12 year old girls recently??? LOL

        • Loisada

          I actually have Kitty, as the mother of two teen girls! I didn’t mean that remark to be disparaging but simply factual re the words employed, putting aside the writer’s ability to move her readers. Applying a scale such as the McGraw-Hill Fry Readability Graph or other tools educators use to assess a book’s reading level (evaluating vocabulary, sentence length, concepts, density, abstractions, etc.), Twilight scores a 4.5 reading level (4th grade), which is actually a 10-year-old reading level. The content is judged to be better suited for young adults, a bit older.

          As Abbey has pointed out, there are many deeper things rumbling there that only a much more mature mind would grasp, which is clearly why so many adults love these books. That said, they don’t display a great mastery of the English language…

  • Loisada

    This I get. I said above it was an indictment, with Eric willingly serving as a sacrificial lamb. Or not. Dead, or not. Lying there on the morgue slab waiting for the sound of that shot to ring out.

    The shot DeLillo fired out around the 21st-century world. Will it be heard?

    • KittyC

      I hope so. Some will hear it, some won’t because they might have to rethink their world view.

  • KittyC

    I must confess that I haven’t read the book and yet here I am reading all these comments. I wasn’t going to until I read the book, but the comments are so smart, so well thought out, so intelligent that I couldn’t help but be drawn in. I am a total TwiHard (twitarded, actually) and again, must confess that my initial interest was that RPatz was going be in it. I think his acting ability is growing exponentially with every new role he plays so I was excited about this role for him. But now, I’m very excited to see this book brought to film and I can’t wait to read it. I believe, however, had I just randomly purchased it from the bookstore, I might not have seen or understood the beauty and importance of the novel and the ‘message’. So many blogsites I go to are ultimately disappointing with the 2 or 3 word comments and if I post a comment that is longer than that, I know eyes glaze over. Looking forward to more scintillating discussion.

    • thanks for the compliments! the discussion posts have certainly been entertaining and very thoughtful. we never could have foreseen this level of participation. the novel is quite compelling and layered. we’re having loads of fun dissecting 😉

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  • Amy

    I think a lot of Eric’s choices are his attempt to take back control of the events in his life. If he is going to have an epic down fall and die it will be on his terms .