Don DeLillo: Mao II & Underworld (LOA #374) (Hardcover)

Don DeLillo: Mao II & Underworld (LOA #374) By Don DeLillo, Mark Osteen (Editor) Cover Image
By Don DeLillo, Mark Osteen (Editor)
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The definitive edition of a modern master continues with 2 mid-career masterpieces, published here with new prefaces from the author

This second volume in the Library of America DeLillo edition collects two extraordinary novels he published in the 1990s, the peak of his career.

In the PEN/Faulkner Award–winning Mao II (1991), the celebrated novelist Bill Gray has withdrawn into seclusion, his everyday affairs managed by a pair of assistants. And yet within the protective solitude he has built for himself he still finds himself struggling—with pills and with a novel he can’t manage to complete. A visit from a Swedish photographer who specializes in author portraits spurs him to shake off his world-weariness, and soon the reclusive writer is embarked on an unlikely journey to help broker the release of a poet held hostage by terrorists in Beirut. Mao II, writes the critic Sven Birkerts, is “DeLillo’s strongest statement yet about the crisis of crises. Namely, that we are living in the last violet twilight of the individual, and that ‘the future belongs to crowds.’”

Underworld (1997), DeLillo’s magnum opus and a book that ranks among the greatest of twentieth-century novels, is a sprawling, ambitious, and moving panorama of the postwar American experience. It begins with a tour de force re-imagination of one of the great moments in sports: the decisive pennant game between the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers at the Polo Grounds in 1951, culminating in the now legendary “shot heard ’round the world” home run by Bobby Thomson. In DeLillo’s hands the excitement of the game is juxtaposed with something far more momentous, the announcement of the Soviets’ first atomic test—a coincidence that initiates a kaleidoscopic saga that is woven across more than four decades, shuttling back and forth through time and mixing fictional characters with historical figures such as Lenny Bruce and J. Edgar Hoover. The novel is at once a profound meditation on our contemporary condition and a deeply personal book for its author, drawing poignantly on his memories of growing up in the Bronx. “All of DeLillo is in Underworld,” writes Harold Bloom. “DeLillo’s sense of America, in the second half of the twentieth century, is achieved perfectly.”

Here is the ultimate gift for DeLillo fans and perfect introduction for readers interested in discovering or rediscovering a great American writer.

About the Author

Don DeLillo (b. 1936) is the author of fifteen novels (as well as a pseudonymous novel written with a collaborator), along with plays and the story collection The Angel Esmerelda. He was awarded the National Book Award for White Noise, the PEN/Faulkner award for Mao II, and the Jerusalem Prize and the William Dean Howells medal for Underworld. He was granted the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction in 2010, the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction in 2013, and the 2015 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation. 

Mark Osteen is the author of American Magic and Dread: Don DeLillo’s Dialogue with Culture (2000) and the editor of the Viking Critical Edition of DeLillo’s White Noise. He is currently director of the Loyola University Center for the Humanities.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781598537550
ISBN-10: 1598537555
Publisher: Library of America
Publication Date: October 17th, 2023
Pages: 1100
Language: English