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?

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Zero D

images-2.jpgI read a review of Don DeLillo’s novel Zero K that suggested we can overlook any novelistic values, such as character or plot development, and just revel in the exquisite sentences the author has so masterfully constructed for us. Okay, DeLillo does write well but I have yet to swoon over anything he wrote.

I have read a great deal of DeLillo and my personal response in general is that he is a good novelist but if you pay attention to the hype you will most certainly be disappointed. I don’t dislike Don DeLillo but compared with the likes of William Gaddis or Saul Bellow he is a second tier writer (in there with John Irving, Tom Wolfe, and maybe Thomas Pynchon).

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The Sea

The SeaJohn Banville was awarded the Mann-Booker Prize for his novel, The Sea. It is quite well written and deals with such unique themes as memory, love, and death. Who wouldn’t love it .. other than me. Actually, I recognize the skill and quality of this novel and found it sufficiently engaging to read to the last page of it’s ho-hum narrative (luckily, it was short). Still. right on the front cover The Washington Post references the novel’s “power and strangeness and piercing beauty” … really?

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