Saturday, May 27, 2006

Underworld by Don DeLillo

DeLillo's Underworld is a long, dense novel that is not for everyone but rewards those who enjoy the author's dry humor and signature vignettes.

The text begins on October 4, 1951, the date when Bobby Thompson hit the home run in the ninth inning, thereby winning the pennant for the Giants against the Dodgers. This was on the same date, by coincidence, when the Russians exploded their first nuclear bomb.

These two themes, baseball and the Cold War, run throughout the book as dozens of characters and hundreds of incidents intersect and nearly connect but never quite fit together.

Ultimately, for me, the book didn't work. There were quite simply too many characters and too many shifts in narrative time to process for one novel. I ended up lost in the pages - in the cacophony of historical events, human emotions, and snippets of dialogs.

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