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Zero K Paperback – 23 Feb 2017

3.0 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Main Market Ed. edition (23 Feb. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1509822844
  • ISBN-13: 978-1509822843
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Both beautiful and profound, certainly DeLillo's best since Underworld, it forces us to confront the spectre of our own mortality, to ask deep questions of our motives in wishing to prolong our span on Earth. We finish the novel with a sudden recognition of the kindness of death, the balm of a bounded life (Observer)

DeLillo is one of urban life's most perceptive chroniclers (Independent)

DeLillo's 16th novel takes a sanguine and, as usual, perceptive look at life as it is now, beset by wars, terrorism and the catastrophic results of climate change, and balances them against the beauty and joy that can be involved in being human (Daily Mail)

Humanly moving . . . sentence by sentence brilliance of phrasing and cadence (Literary Review)

A kind of greatest-hits compilation of earlier motifs and gestures (London Review of Books)

Haunting. . . Simultaneously terrifying yet beautifully told with a real tenderness for the everyday details of life in New York. . . certainly not to be missed (GQ)

Very moving . . . his optimism is a welcome gift in this intense and deeply considered book (Prospect)

A visionary novel of ideas that remembers even visionary novels are read by living, breathing humans (Independent)

As he approaches 80, Don DeLillo is still producing work that channels America's tensions. . . supple and sad and oddly compassionate too; his most fully realised work in more than a decade (Guardian)

DeLillo's spare eloquence and the cosmic depression underlying it makes this emptiest of novels a rich reading experience (The Times)

Time has done nothing to diminish this writer's casually epigraphic style, his daring narrative choreography nor his sensitivity to the swelling fears of our age . . . truly provocative' (The Washington Post)

[DeLillo's] most persuasive [novel] since his astonishing 1997 masterpiece, Underworld . . . Zero K reminds us of Mr. DeLillo's almost Day-Glo powers as a writer and his understanding of the strange, contorted shapes that eternal human concerns (with mortality and time) can take in the new millennium' (Michiko Kakutani New York Times)

Brilliant in its imaginative scope (The Atlantic)

Among DeLillo's finest work . . . DeLillo sneaks a heartbreaking story of a son attempting to reconnect with his father into his thought-provoking novel (Publishers Weekly)

Sentence by sentence, DeLillo magically slips the knot of criticism and gives his readers what Nabokov maintained was all that mattered in life and art: individual genius. Sentence by sentence, DeLillo seduces . . . DeLillo has written a handful of the past half-century's finest novels. Now, as he approaches 80, he gives us one more, written distinctly for the 21st (Joshua Ferris New York Times)

A return to full realization for DeLillo. . .Deserves to win old and new readers alike. A marvellous blend of DeLillo's enormous gifts; his bleak humour and edged insight, the alertness and vitality of his prose, the vast, poetic extrapolations are all evident. So is the visceral quickness and wit in the sentences (Sam Lipsyte)

As ever, DeLillo explores the depths of an edgy, timely topic, completely resisting cliché, and emerges with something both fresh and universal (The Huffington Post)

The reigning poet of unease, DeLillo has always understood the greatest disquiet ― our mortality ― and how our sense of it coats the surfaces of day-to-day life with a film, something DeLillo peels back at last in this bravura new novel about cryogenic life extension, family, and the losses we can’t overcome (Boston Globe)

An eerie descent into a secret collective that seeks to elude death through cryonic freezing. It blends DeLillo's typical mix of introspection and creeping dread with something else ― a menacing sense of the absurd, borrowed from Kafka. Combine this with a wry sense of humor and you've got a dive into the murky boundary between life and death that's as amusing as it is alarming (NPR)

Book Description

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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The arrival of a new Don DeLillo novel is always going to create a ripple of excitement. He occupies a place at the top of the pecking order in American literature and after Roth’s retirement some would argue he sits at the pinnacle. His books are seldom what might be called perfect however. Underworld may consistently appear on those lists of great American novels but it’s as bloated as some of those other greats meaning it sits unfinished on many a bookshelf and, personally, I’ve always felt that the opening section describing ‘the shot heard around the world’ is by far the best part of the book.

The excitement from readers and writers comes from the fact that he remains a writer who has consistently been able to see so clearly something about the times he writes in. He has been described by some as a seer for his ability to tell us not only where we are but where we might be heading. Zero K exemplifies this before you even start reading. That futuristic cover, the blurb mentioning cryogenics; this is all about man’s wish to extend life into the future, perhaps to avoid death at all. But this is far from a foray into science fiction. It is a book rooted in the now, in the world in which we live and in fact it articulates something about our anxiety so incisively that you realise he might just be the first to say it and how strange that the man to engage so brilliantly with the contemporary is an 84 year-old who doesn’t use email and still writes his novels on a type-writer.
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By J. Mcdonald TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 May 2016
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As others have noted, this is a chilly, somewhat high-flown novel that rather outreaches itself.

The premise of the novel is well-enough laid out above; a rich businessman asks his son to accompany him as his ailing second wife prepares to be cryogenically preserved by a shadowy institution called the Convergence, which he has helped fund; the story is narrated – for the most part – by Jeffrey the son, and the austere, remote installation (both in the architectural and artistic sense) where the proceedings take place is set against a somewhat dystopian world-view; it isn't all-out science fiction but is vaguely futuristic.
While the prose is beautifully considered with an almost meditative care, it's melancholic themes of death, remembrance and uncertainties make it a hard book to like; it's difficult to engage with any of the characters, who seem to be of a privileged class, remote from real life; the disturbing imagery displayed on the screens at the underground complex indicate a troubled world about to fall apart, yet even away from the icy retreat of the Convergence there isn't much disturbance in the day-to-day existence of Jeffrey.
That the novel moves at glacial pace only emphasises the hypothermic essence; it`s ironically suited to the subject of death and cryogenic freezing.

It isn't a bad novel - not by any means – but it has a strange disengaged tone, unsettling but also wearisome after a time; if it`s saying anything profound it passed me by; four days after finishing it I'm forgetting it already.
Zero K has received generally good reviews from the establishment literati; it's okay, but I found it aloof, uninvolved.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
DeLillo is one of those writers, like Faulkner, Hemingway and Woolf, that has an instantly recognisable way with words. Within a sentence or two, if you've read him before, you'll know where you are. The flipside of this distinctive style is that it risks, or even invites, parody, though DeLillo has consistently evolved with each iteration to just about keep ahead of that possibility.
In the first couple of pages of this, I was concerned that he might have lost that knack, that it was all a little bit too familiar. But after a bit longer, I settled into the novel like a warm bath. Or a cold one, maybe. Here we are again.
In telling the story of Jeffrey, meandering around his life and around the bizarre cultish facility somewhere in a desert in the Caucasus, in which his ailing stepmother has decided to submit herself to cryopreservation, DeLillo revisits a great number of ideas he has already approached in previous novels. Speculations on death and transcendence and embodiment are inevitably here, in echoes of The Body Artist. Global connectedness, chaos, the cognitive dissonance of humanity’s coexistent power and powerlessness in the face of nature and decay, the transfiguration of mundane moments into art or documentary or simply memory. It’s all there. The element that made it new and exciting for me, though, was the stream of humour running through it.
DeLillo has always been dryly witty, in a way that is easily mistaken for deadpan ponderousness. Here he makes it more explicit. Characters have conversations in which they essentially list out the more hackneyed possible interpretations of the book, the book-club prompting questions that might pop up in the back if this was to become a bestseller. People make actual jokes, which are funny.
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