The wisest, richest, funniest, and most moving novel in years from Don DeLillo, one of the great American novelists of our time—an ode to language, at the heart of our humanity, a meditation on death, and an embrace of life.
Jeffrey Lockhart’s father, Ross, is a billionaire in his sixties, with a younger wife, Artis Martineau, whose health is failing. Ross is the primary investor in a remote and secret compound where death is exquisitely controlled and bodies are preserved until a future time when biomedical advances and new technologies can return them to a life of transcendent promise. Jeff joins Ross and Artis at the compound to say “an uncertain farewell” to her as she surrenders her body.
“We are born without choosing to be. Should we have to die in the same manner? Isn’t it a human glory to refuse to accept a certain fate?”
These are the questions that haunt the novel and its memorable characters, and it is Ross Lockhart, most particularly, who feels a deep need to enter another dimension and awake to a new world. For his son, this is indefensible. Jeff, the book’s narrator, is committed to living, to experiencing “the mingled astonishments of our time, here, on earth.”
Don DeLillo’s seductive, spectacularly observed and brilliant new novel weighs the darkness of the world—terrorism, floods, fires, famine, plague—against the beauty and humanity of everyday life; love, awe, “the intimate touch of earth and sun.”
Zero K is glorious.
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An Amazon Best Book of May 2016: Jeffrey Lockhart, son of billionaire Ross Lockhart, is staying with his father and his stepmother at a cryogenics facility in central Asia. His stepmother, Artis, is waiting to have her body preserved until a treatment for her disabling multiple sclerosis can be found and she can be reawakened and cured. Despite referring to cryogenics as “faith-based technology,” Jeffrey’s father is a big investor in the facility—where the three of them stand on the very spear tip of the future. Thus, the stage is set for DeLillo to riff on life and death, life and family, life and money, life and technology, and to examine the difference between life and Life. DeLillo is very much in his comfort zone in this book and he pushes the existentialist envelope. “I’m someone who’s supposed to be me,” says Artis at one point in the novel. That’s true for all of us. The question is how? And do you do it by adding or subtracting? --Chris SchluepAbout the Author:
Don DeLillo is the author of fifteen novels, including Zero K, Underworld, Falling Man, White Noise, and Libra. He has won the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the Jerusalem Prize for his complete body of work, and the William Dean Howells Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2010, he was awarded the PEN/Saul Bellow Prize. His story collection The Angel Esmeralda was a finalist for the 2011 Story Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.
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