Review of Point Omega

Title: Point Omega

Author: Don Delillo                                                                         

                              Dean’s pick

Fighting the Iraq war like a haiku poem, the word ‘rendition’, the point in which a human being becomes pure consciousness, and finding your true identity. These are just a few of the many subjects discussed by Point Omega’s two protagonists. In fact it’s this rambling discussion which forms the basis for Don Delillo’s short novel.

Sound Interesting?

Well I guess it takes someone who is frequently cited as America’s greatest living author, to make a novel with little to no plot seem worthwhile and important.

At the centre of this novel is Jim Finley, a film maker who desperately wants to make a film about Richard Elster, an intellectual who formerly worked for the U.S. Government as a defence analyst and planner. Finley spends several weeks at Elster’s desert retreat in an effort to convince him to take part in a one-take film in which Elster would talk about whatever comes to mind.

For 80 pages or so, the novel is essentially two talking heads, as Elster throws out a myriad of ideas and Finley salivates at the thought of transferring them to film. It’s not until Elster’s daughter arrives, that this dynamic is broken, and a mysterious tragedy leads the characters to feelings of guilt and complicity.

The novel is also book-ended by scenes of a man obsessed with a slow motion filming of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho stretched out over 24 hours.

By the book’s end, the reader is left with what can only be described as a haunting aftertaste, a result which can be attributed to Delillo’s incredible ability to manufacture emotion from seemingly innocuous moments.