Underworld by Don DeLillo

DeLillo offers a document of twin forces of the Cold War and American Culture, compelling that "swerve from evenness" in which he finds events and people both wondrous and horrifying.
"Underworld" opens with a breathlessly graceful prologue set during the final game of the Giants-Dodgers pennant race in 1951. Written in what DeLillo calls "super-omniscience" the sentences sweep from young Cotton as he jumps the gate to the press box, soars over the radio waves, turns to the diamond, slides in on a fast ball, pops into the stands where J. Edgar Hoover is sitting with a drunken Jackie Gleason and a splenetic Frank Sinatra, and learns of the second detonation of a nuclear bomb. It's an absolutely thrilling literary moment. When Bobby Thomson hits Branca's pitch into the outstretched hand of Cotter - the "shot heard around the world" - and Jackie Gleason pukes on Sinatra's shoes, the events of the next few decades are set in motion, all threaded together by the baseball as it passes from hand to hand.
Through fragments and interlaced stories - including those of highway killers, artists, celebrities, conspiracists, gangsters, nuns and sundry others - DeLillo creates a fragile web of connected experience, a communal Zeitgeist that encompasses the messy whole of five decades of American life, wonderfully distilled.

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  • Charles H.

    Understatement by Andy.

    January 30, 2014

  • Andy

    challenging

    1 · January 30, 2014

  • Charles H.

    As good as fiction gets -- what it may, to me, have lacked in discernible pattern and form, those matters lose their significance when the writer goes about creating people, times, and places in vivid relationship to each other without missing a step for nearly 900 pages in his eerily brilliant way. And I could be wrong about pattern and form: the book just may be too big for me to comprehend. ch

    1 · January 30, 2014

  • Peter

    Fascinating book! Great venue and good discussion!

    January 29, 2014

  • kim

    I would just now be arriving. 40 mins late due to traffic and inattention about the address. I had no idea there were 3 Austin Javas... hope I can get it together another time.

    January 29, 2014

    • Peter

      I'm so sorry to hear you had such a rough time of it. We're at the one on Barton Springs Road. Hope to see you there next month!

      January 29, 2014

  • Susan G.

    Excellent discussion.

    January 29, 2014

  • Christine

    Although I didn't read the book and came for the company and to see the venue, I had fun. It was great hearing the varying thoughts on the book. As always we have such great discussions and Peter does a superb job of keeping everyone engaged! Loved the venue as well.

    January 29, 2014

  • Lisa

    Uugggg....I am traffic adverse. I don't think I am going to make it to the new location. I will miss everyone!!!!

    January 19, 2014

    • Peter

      We will miss you :-(

      January 28, 2014

    • Christine

      We missed you Lisa!

      January 29, 2014

  • mary b

    Sorry to say, I have not finished the book. Hope to make it next month.

    January 28, 2014

  • JT

    I've been a slacker this month. Not going to get this one done, but see you next time.

    January 26, 2014

  • Mary

    I'll be out of town for this month's meeting (and I've already read the book, too, so could have participated!) and look forward to seeing everyone in the new location the next time! Stay healthy, warm and safe until then!

    January 24, 2014

  • Christine

    I didn't even start the book but may be joining to scope out the new venue and wish everyone happy new year :) if the spot is needed for someone else, I won't come.

    1 · January 14, 2014

  • Charles H.

    White Noise, even End Zone, his 2nd novel, Cosmopolis. Mao II is short and in my opinion strong, but so unlike Underworld that I wouldn't recommend it as an introduction.

    November 22, 2013

  • JT

    Peter and others: a review i read of this book suggests introducing onesself to the author via one of his older works. Any recommendations of his older works?

    November 22, 2013

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Rafaël

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

Rafaël, started French Conversation Group

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