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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:
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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.

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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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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