In this potent and beautiful novel, the writer The New York Times calls “prophetic about twenty-first-century America” looks into the mind and heart of a scholar who was recruited to help the military conceptualize the war.
We see Richard Elster at the end of his service. He has retreated to the desert, in search of space and geologic time. There he is joined by a filmmaker and by Elster’s daughter Jessica—an “otherworldly” woman from New York. The three of them build an odd, tender intimacy, something like a family. Then a devastating event turns detachment into colossal grief, and it is a human mystery that haunts the landscape of desert and mind.
Novelist Don DeLillo reading from Point Omega
Hear an Excerpt
Reading Group Guide
Documentary filmmaker Jim Finley is divorced and adrift in New York City and looking for a subject for his next film. When he learns about Richard Elster, a scholar who was an advisor to the military for the War on Terror, he thinks he has found it. He follows the reclusive Elster out to a desert cabin in an attempt to convince him to be in a new film. The men spend their time discussing philosophy and politics, spinning their mental wheels, until the arrival of Elster’s daughter Jessie. Sent by her mother, who dislikes Jessie’s new boyfriend, Jessie changes the dynamic and sets Finley on edge with a confused attraction. When she suddenly disappears, it throws the men into a tailspin that forces them to confront the realities they’ve been hiding from.
Questions for Discussion
1. What was Elster’s motivation for inviting Finley out to the desert? Did he ever intend to be in the movie, or was he simply lonely?
2. Characters are introduced abruptly in Point Omega, with contex see more