Americana by Don DeLillo
His first novel, Don DeLillo's Americana passionately articulates the neurotic landscape of contemporary American life through a disintegrating embodiment of the American dream.
Prosperous, good-looking and empty inside, 28-year-old advertising executive David Bell appears on the surface to have everything. But he is a man on the brink of losing his sanity. Trapped in a Manhattan office with soulless sycophants as his only company, he makes an abrupt decision to leave New York for America's mid-west. His plan: to film the small-town lives of ordinary people and make contact with the true heart of his homeland. But as Bell puts his films together in his hotel room, he grows increasingly convinced that there is no heart to find. Modern America has become a land that has reached the end of its reel...
Don DeLillo (b.1936) was born and raised in New York City. Americana (1971), his first novel, announced the arrival of a major literary talent, and the novels that followed confirmed his reputation as one of the most distinctive and compelling voices in late-twentieth-century American fiction. DeLillo's comic gifts come to the fore in White Noise (1985), which won the National Book Award, Underworld (1997), hailed by Martin Amis as 'the ascension of a great writer', Cosmopolis (2003), adapted into a film by David Cronenberg, due to be released later this year, and Falling Man (2007), a novel about the aftereffects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York.
If you enjoyed Americana, you might like DeLillo's Libra, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
'He's a writer who, once you read him, makes you want to read everything he's done'
Martin Amis, Sunday Times
'Witty, clever and incisive ... a marvellously realized plot'
'Nearly every sentence of Americana rings true ... DeLillo is a man of frightening perception'
Joyce Carol Oates