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(09/03/2008) Libra by Don Delillo. New York. 1988. Viking Press. keywords: Literature America. 456 pages. Jacket design by Neil Stuart. 0670823171. August 1988.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In his eight previous novels, Don Delillo has taken on large tracts of the contemporary American experience and created a distinctive world where all the ambiguity, dread, and surpassing strangeness of our own time stand forth in high relief. In LIBRA, Delillo has given us the novel the shaken American psyche has been awaiting for twenty-five years - a superbly veracious, artistically impeccable, and eerily convincing fictional speculation of the events leading up to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The antihero of LIBRA is Lee Harvey Oswald, who is as hauntingly real in the book as he was elusive to us in reality. Here he is, as large and as small as life - joining the Marines, poring over Marxist texts, defecting to Russia, taking a potshot at General Edwin Walker, handing out leaflets for the Fair Play for Cuba committee, imagining himself as an agent of history. Then, 'history' presents itself in the form of two disgruntled CIA operatives, who decide that an unsuccessful attempt on JFK's life, one that could be linked to Fidel Castro, is the only way to put Cuba back into geopolitical play - and that Oswald is the perfect instrument for their ambitions. We are plunged into the strange half-world of Bay of Pigs veterans, rogue agents, right-wing fanatics, Mafia thugs, the whole peculiar melange from which emerged the most shattering event of postwar history. Oswald's sign was Libra, the scales - and how he tilts will determine whether Dallas will be just another stop on the political itinerary or the locus of exploded American dreams.

 

 

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