A finalist for the National Book Award, Don DeLillo’s most powerful and riveting novel—“a great American novel, a masterpiece, a thrilling page-turner” (San Francisco Chronicle)—Underworld is about the second half of the twentieth century in America and about two people, an artist and an executive, whose lives intertwine in New York in the fifties and again in the nineties. With cameo appearances by Lenny Bruce, J. Edgar Hoover, Bobby Thompson, Frank Sinatra, Jackie Gleason and Toots Shor, “this is DeLillo’s most affecting novel…a dazzling, phosphorescent work of art” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times).
Customer ReviewsSee All
Worth the Work
I stumbled across this book when I did a Google search for "Best Cold War Novels." I had worked my way through most of the John LeCarre lexicon and had been disappointed by some stock Berlin Wall potboilers. This came back in the search and I was intrigued by the extent to which it purported to capture the mood of the country in the years from the 50s to the 90s -- the Cold War years through which I had lived (although only as an infant for part of the 50s). It was hard work at first to grasp the non-linear, non-chronological plot and character development, and it could have easily been shorter. But it did not disappoint. The characters were fascinating and the mood of those years was perfectly captured. It was well worth the work and a fascinating portrayal of America in the second half of the 20th Century. Beautiful prose and moments of real greatness.
100 Words or Less (Plus some formatting comments)
Déjà vu! That’s my reaction to Underworld, and unfortunately it’s not good.
About 100 pages into the novel the slow burning realization finally hits home: I’ve read this before.
Maybe a dozen years ago, I read this novel and do not remember any characters, plot, image, scene, or dialogue. Only when rereading certain sections did I begin to admit “Oh yeah, this sounds vaguely naggingly familiar.” Nothing specific. Simply a general feeling I’ve been bored by all this before.
What a sad commentary on a book to remember nothing about it. Or is that a reflection on me?
There are some minor bugs that pop up within the ebook I downloaded. Examples:
1. “Pd” instead of “I’d”
2. misplaced hyphenization, like “move-ment” in the middle of a sentence
3. misplaced line breaks, truncating a sentence before the edge of the paragraph
The reason for these mistakes is that each page was scanned from an original paper-printed copy. However, good this text scanning has become, it’s not perfect. Thus, whatever formatting the original book had, it is kept. And sometimes, it misrecognizes certain words.
Yeah, it doesn’t really affect the novel, per se. But it’s sloppy. It's hard to ignore. It shows a laziness. A lack of quality. It rips you out of the story. And frankly, it’s unprofessional.
I really enjoyed reading this book.