Underworld

  • by Don DeLillo
  • Narrated by Richard Poe
  • 31 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Our lives, our half century.
Nick Shay and Klara Sax knew each other once, intimately, and they meet again in the American desert. He is trying to outdistance the crucial events of his early life, haunted by the hard logic of loss and by the echo of a gunshot in a basement room. She is an artist who has made a blood struggle for independence.
Don DeLillo's mesmerizing novel opens with a legendary baseball game played in New York in 1951. The glorious outcome - the home run that wins the game is called the Shot Heard Round the World - shades into the grim news that the Soviet Union has just tested an atomic bomb.
The baseball itself, fought over and scuffed, generates the narrative that follows. It takes the reader deeply into the lives of Nick and Klara and into modern memory and the soul of American culture - from Bronx tenements to grand ballrooms to a B-52 bombing raid over Vietnam.
A generation's master spirits come and go. Lennny Bruce cracking desperate jokes, Mick Jagger with his devil strut, J. Edgar Hoover in a sexy leather mask. And flashing in the margins of ordinary life are the curiously connectecd materials of the culture. Condoms, bombs, Chevy Bel Airs and miracle sites on the Web.
Underworld is a story of men and women together and apart, seen in deep clear detail and in stadium-sized panoramas, shadowed throughout by the overarching conflict of the Cold War. It is a novel that accepts every challenge of these extraordinary times - Don DeLillo's greatest and most powerful work of fiction.

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What the Critics Say

"Underworld is a page-turner and a masterwork, a sublime novel and a delight to read." (The Baltimore Sun)
There's pleasure on evey page of this pitch-perfect evocation of a half-century." (Newsweek)
"Masterpieces teach you how to read them, and Underworld is no exception." (The Seattle Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A modern classic - read it

I have tried to read De Lillo's underworld three times. I've got 3 quarters of the way through on one occasion. Circumstance always drags me away, but despite this I maintain, this is one of the best books ever written - a modern classic.

It's a sprawling epic that you have to dedicate time to, an ensemble piece that spiders webs out of the Bronx into wider America, and wider life. There's a definite poetry to the way De Lillo writes, he loves rhythm and repetition. The repetition doesn't always sound totally convincing (or naturalistic) on the audio book, however, Dellilo's words are often profound and thought provoking, golden nuggets of wisdom spilling out as thick and fast and thrown away as garbage going into a landfill.

His reveals about his characters come seemingly randomly throughout the book, often when we've grown to trust characters, we suddenly learn something about them which we're perhaps not so fond of - like life maybe!

The book documents the end of the last century, it's peppered with historical characters some real some fictional, all fallible. It made me google certain events and I loved the continually present problem of waste, and junk (the central character is in waste management).

I managed to listen to the book when I was driving, when I was ironing, when I was cooking. I've had a real Underworld couple of weeks and loved every minute.

Maybe I'll even do it again sometime.

A great book. One of the greatest books of our time. Highly recommended.
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- shirley

Riveting audio experience!

First class performance from Richard Poe. His deep steady voice, with its myriad of subtle shifts of accent and character made this audiobook head and shoulders the best I've heard in several years of Audible membership.
Helped of course by the high quality of the novel itself - an elegy for America in the second half of of the twentieth century, despite the seedy, sordid glimpses of its underbelly.
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- floremolla

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-05-2011
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio