Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Angel Esmeralda

I really liked the title of Don DeLillo's The Angel Esmeralda. I went to high school with a very exotic-looking girl named Esmeralda (at least, I think I did...sometimes I make things up and then I get confused) and the name makes me think of bold, jump-off-the-roof risk-taking. So, maybe I was a little disappointed because of my high expectations. I didn't not like these stories, but I didn't love most of them. No one jumped off a roof (although someone was thrown). They were a little too quiet, which is funny for me to say because, as a writer, that's the criticism usually bestowed on me. But, maybe I can see the point better in work that is not mine Some of DeLillo's stories just felt too far away from the characters, too circumspect. Maybe I'm a victim of the modern sensibility of virtually attacking a reader's senses--not that I prefer those stories, either. I like more of a balance--a character you can get to know but with some of his mysteries left undiscovered, a story where you can fill in some of the blanks, and you feel compelled to do so. DeLillo's stories brought me in, but, for the most part, I found it easy to leave the characters behind when I was done. That said, there were a couple of stories in this collection that will stay with me--the title story being one (it reminded me of Dave Guterson's Our Lady of the Forest, which I loved and have, many times, tried to re-write) and the last story The Starveling which is an appropriately distant voice for the hauntingly lonely and movie-obsessed protagonist.

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