Zero K (DeLillo)

For me, a DeLillo book is an event. I have a visceral memory of my first DeLillo – White Noise – where I was walking when I read it, laughing out loud. Since then, I’ve been hooked. Aside from Libra – which other people seem to like more than me – I find his work compelling, precise, and original. Some complain about the dialogue, but he – like the participants in the Convergence and like Mamet (another favorite) – has his own language. It’s both completely precise and incredibly ambiguous. Words surround ideas. The main character, Jeffrey, seeks to define and name things. It’s a form of control, perhaps, one that ultimately eludes him.

The title, riffing I think on the apocalyptic associations of Y2K, is about nothing less than the end of the world. More specifically, death and when it chooses you and whether you can choose it. Love – husband and second wife, father and son, boyfriend and girlfriend. There is a DeLillo art exhibit. The world and the technological world intersect. What is seen and unseen, said and unsaid.

I don’t want it to be made into a movie, but I could really see this one. It’s visual, evocative, haunting. I’ve been to this story. I couldn’t avoid thinking of Ted Williams. Ross, at home, with his painting. Jeffrey doesn’t know how to live in his house. I know that feeling.  Tremendous.


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