Extended Audio Sample

Download Underworld Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Underworld, by Don DeLillo Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (11,570 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Don DeLillo Narrator: Richard Poe Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2011 ISBN: 9781442342569
Regular Price: $59.95 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $18.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

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 deep 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: Lenny 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 connected 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.

Download and start listening now!

BK_SANS_005554

Quotes & Awards

  • Underworld is magnificent book by an American master.” 

    Salman Rushdie

  • “The bliss of a baseball game, the meeting of old lovers in a desert. He offers us another history of ourselves, the official underground moments. He smells the music in argument and brag. He throws the unbitten coin of fame back at us. The book is an aria and a wolf-whistle of our half century. It contains multitudes.” 

    Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient

  • “[A] dazzling and prescient novel…A decade after 9/11, it’s worth rereading Don DeLillo’s 1997 masterpiece to appreciate how uncannily the author not only captured the surreal weirdness of life in the second half of the twentieth century but also anticipated America’s lurch into the terror and exigencies of the new millennium.” 

    New York Times

  • “Through fragments and interlaced stories—including those of highway killers, artists, celebrities, conspiracists, gangsters, nuns, and sundry others—DeLillo creates a fragile web of connected experience, a communal Zeitgeist that encompasses the messy whole of five decades of American life, wonderfully distilled.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • A 1997 New York Times Best Book for Fiction
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the 1998 American Book Award
  • A 1999 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Finalist
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • Winner of the 1998 Ambassador Book Award for Fiction
  • A 1998 Pulitzer Prize Finalist
  • A 1997 National Book Award for Fiction
  • A 1997 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David Press | 2/7/2014

    " I loved the narrative line of baseball and how it reflects modern concerns, but boy was it a slog of a read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bryant | 2/3/2014

    " It took well over a year, but I finally finished this 800+ page book. While Dom DeLillo is a fantastic writer, the point of this book is still not clear to me. Maybe if I'd been able to read this book in a shorter amount of time I'd get it. I had zero empathy or compassion for any of the characters in the book. It's not that they were antiheroes, I just didn't care about them. Would I recommend this? Sure, because I'd like to see if someone else understands this hefty tome. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeremy | 1/31/2014

    " probably one of the greatest Novels of the Twentieth Century, arguably the best book I've ever read. A sprawling epic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelli | 1/28/2014

    " I wanted so much more for these characters whom I felt so invested in. I must be quite a Pollyanna because I want so much for everyone to have a happy little time! Wonderful writing and so much great history. I like the book very much. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Traci | 1/28/2014

    " Best first 60 pages of a book, ever. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jens | 1/25/2014

    " Unravels as you read, amazingly beautiful language that opens little cracks in places, feelings, senses that are normally out of reach. A world of its own, it is. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cary Barney | 1/24/2014

    " I read the prologue to "Underworld" when it was published as a novella in Harper's with the title "Pafko at the Wall". It stands beautifully alone and was recently republished that way. It loses something by being relegated to prologue status here, especially since the book that follows is very tenuously connected to it. This is one of those behemoth novels, like much of Pynchon's and Rushdie's, that's less than the sum of its parts, though some of the parts are breathtaking. Ultimately it founders on the twin icebergs that have plagued DeLillo all along: an excessively cerebral structure which connects events in the book in purely intellectual ways, and a lack of memorable characters. DeLillo's weak points have always been character and dialogue, and when all characters are seen from such an icy remove and all speak in arch, elliptical DeLillo-speak, it's hard to invest in them. DeLillo and a lot of his readers would say that's the point, and his shorter books get away with it, but a huge novel needs strong characters, a human dimension to sweep us along. Without that, we get fascinating set pieces, precise if often inscrutable writing, a sense of history, but not enough to hold it all together. I'm looking back on this more than ten years later, of course, and if life were long enough I might give it another go. But I recently did just that with DeLillo's "Players" and I'm starting to wonder if I'm growing out of his work. I'll go back to one or two others I remember more fondly ("Mao II" in particular) to test this hypothesis... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul Doody | 1/17/2014

    " Vast, sprawling novel taking the whole of twentieth century American history as its subject. A wonder of modern literature. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Abe | 1/16/2014

    " This DeLillo dude is clearly a talented writer. But even good writers have to write about something. 650 pages into this 800+ page book and I still had no idea what this is about. I suppose it's a mood piece. But after 650 pages I lost the mood and gave up. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Danny | 11/30/2013

    " The first chapter is breathtaking. The rest, a snorefest. How can he leave the beautiful baseball cosmos behind in favor of egocentric self conscious existential rambling blah? I ain't no middle-aged man in crisis. Give me the ecstatic or give me nothing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jonathan | 11/27/2013

    " Unimaginably good. Subtle, deep, with rich characters and such perfect, involving, compelling writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 JJ Sulin | 11/4/2013

    " Great book that includes much of the later half of the 20th century. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Nick | 10/31/2013

    " Took forever to get nowhere. Couldn't get into it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Esonja | 10/15/2013

    " Complete. Really, DeLillo did not leave anything unsaid, but it maintained a tight involvement with me as the reader, too. When I realized he was writing this and deliberately keeping the reader at arms length, I was all the more intrigued. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Clifford | 8/16/2013

    " Intense...read 400 of 827 pages and returned to library. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jared Busch | 2/1/2013

    " Another great-premise, great-disappointment read for me. With all of the topics it covers-- the Zapruder film, the infamous Rolling Stones doc Cocksucker Blues, and the fictional Highway Killer videotape, I expected a hell of a lot more from this. Instead, it was an 800+ page letdown. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James Camden | 1/31/2013

    " Reading the varied reviews proves to me my theory: Delillo is definitely a "writer's writer." If you don't "get it," I feel no angst or animosity towards you. I only feel my deepest sympathies. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ted | 10/23/2012

    " Underworld is a great read. It's lengthy, but I think reads much faster than novels of similar girth. Perhaps not the DeLillo to begin with, but a great book nevertheless. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Josephine Mason | 4/20/2012

    " The first chapter is baseball-heavy but after that it's 100 % juicy Don DeLillo "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Newton | 1/24/2012

    " The more narrow the view in a story, the greater the universality. As we work our way through the twists and turns of (fictional) lives recounted, we see the second half of the twentieth century crystallize in a way no historical account could match. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave Groff | 9/23/2011

    " Probably one of the best books of that decade, if not THE best . The only book I can remember which, upon finishing, when I put it down actually said, "Wow." Out loud, to no one in particular. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sue | 9/17/2011

    " Interesting read, yet somehow unsatisfying. One of those books I couldn't put down, but came away wanting more. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Adrian | 5/9/2011

    " So longwinded and meandering and brain-deadening that it could only have been written by someone who thinks his own shit smells good. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mike | 4/21/2011

    " 2.5 stars - loved certain parts, but other parts bored me. very long book "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 4/12/2011

    " I loved the narrative line of baseball and how it reflects modern concerns, but boy was it a slog of a read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lily | 4/11/2011

    " Listened to this and read parts. Sometime after 2001 -- date is approximate. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 K.c. | 4/4/2011

    " Excellent, though very very long book. Highly recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel | 4/3/2011

    " I was surprised how much I liked this book. I really liked this book so put your DeLillo preconceptions away. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Edmond | 4/1/2011

    " Massive; I set the goal of finishing this monster before the end of the millenium an finished the night before. Impressive, incomprehensible at times. Notable for the first chapter on the infamous Giants-Dodgers playoff, and one sequence where a Jesuit describes the parts of a shoe. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rich | 3/21/2011

    " Really don't get the hype on this one. Good read. Makes you think, but not as deep as it pretends to be, and perhaps seemed more intelligent than it is when it was released in the early days of the internet boom. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Newton | 3/16/2011

    " The more narrow the view in a story, the greater the universality. As we work our way through the twists and turns of (fictional) lives recounted, we see the second half of the twentieth century crystallize in a way no historical account could match. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations