Throwing the Long Bomb In the End Zone

images-1.jpgGary bounced from college to college, from the Ivy League to relative obscurity in West Texas. He could always find a new school because he played football and he was good at his game. But Gary also loved to study mass destruction, warfare, and the slaughter of innocents.

Don DeLillo’s early novel, End Zone, somewhat heavy-handedly makes the metaphorical connection between the controlled violence of football and the blood and bone violence of modern warfare, especially as being established in Indo-China (although mentioned only once). Is it a read-out of the playbook or the details of a thermo-nuclear attack plan? Is it the play-by-play of the football game or is it a scenario of the escalating destruction of a winless war of destruction?

The characters are well drawn, the author’s knowledge of football appears to be solid, and much like The Deer Hunter, the metaphor is well thought-out. Besides, the football action is both brutal and exhilarating. A guys’ novel?

The only girl in the story is fat and blotchy and insists on avoiding any of the norms of beauty … until the end of the narrative.

It’s interesting to contemplate.

DeLillo is not one of my favorite authors and he more often fails to live up to the hype that his novels seem to generate. But he’s a much better read than almost anyone else displayed on the front rounder at Barnes and Noble … so add a few of DeLillo’s titles to your own personal reading list.


  • Americana (1971)
  • End Zone (1972)
  • Great Jones Street (1973)
  • Ratner’s Star (1976)
  • Players (1977)
  • Running Dog (1978)
  • Amazons (1980) (under pseudonym “Cleo Birdwell”)
  • The Names (1982)
  • White Noise (1985)
  • Libra (1988)
  • Mao II (1991)
  • Underworld (1997)
  • The Body Artist (2001)
  • Cosmopolis (2003)
  • Falling Man (2007)
  • Zero K (2016)

What are your thoughts on this?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s