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Print Novel October 27, 1997
Don DeLillo

"Writers tend to be one heartbeat away from becoming elevator music," said Don DeLillo recently. It seems that not just writers are in peril lately, but the entire publishing industry. DeLillo's new novel, Underworld, seems to be shouldering the industry's burden, as they try to save the "serious novel" from becoming nothing more than a curious artifact of the cultural elite. The good news is that DeLillo might actually pull it off -- almost in spite of the press barrage (author profiles in The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine), the book tour (his first in many years) and the glowing reviews. Underworld is nothing less than a tour de force counter-history of post-WWII America, where DeLillo explores baseball, nuclear waste, and the Zapruder film in order to come to grips with the lasting effects of the Cold War.

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