DeLillo, Don. Underworld. Read by Richard Poe. New York: Recorded Books, 2003.
Even though this is a long book I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. From the prologue I was hooked. By the way, everyone loves the prologue best. But the book as a whole, I don’t know how to describe it. It’s a stand-alone novella in itself. I guess I could equate Underworld to a bumble bee ride. At times the plot flies over time and space, flitting from one character to another without really touching down long enough to establish foundation. But, there there are other times this bee lands, spends an inordinate amount of time digging around one particular scene and rooting among the details; rolling through the dialogue and repeating itself a lot. Diverse yet nitty gritty. If you get to the part when Nick is trying to talk to his wife while she watched a movie you’ll see what I mean. Excruciating! I found their dialogue painful.
As a whole, Underworld is a biography of 20th century American culture, flayed and dissected and analyzed. Guts and all. It’s 50 years of society spanning the country, from Arizona to New York and points in between. It’s 1951 and fifty years beyond. There is no real plot. There is no real point other than to show the complexities of the times we live in.
Reason read: February is National History Month and Underworld is chock full of history, real and imagined.
Author fact: Although Don DeLillo is mentioned five times in Book Lust I am only reading three of his books, Libra, White Noise and of course, Underworld.
Book trivia: Underworld is a huge book – over 800 some odd pages long. I had to borrow an audio recording and a print version just to finish it within the month!
Audio trivia: I just had to mention this since it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a library do this: the Westborough Public Library warned me, “the cost to replace this item is $109.75 Please handle carefully!” Why not make it an even $110? Just saying.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “American History: Fiction” (p 22).