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Authors: Don DeLillo

Underworld

Praise for
Underworld

“His best novel and perhaps that most elusive of creatures, a great American novel . . . a masterpiece in which the depth and reach of the commonplace are invested with universal scope and grandeur.
Underworld
is also a thrilling page-turner, propelling us along with realistic characters and those compelling details that make it impossible for them—or us—to escape the past.”

—David Wiegand,
The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

“In
Underworld
, we have a mature and hugely accomplished novelist firing on all cylinders, at the sophisticated height of his multifarious powers. Reading the book is a charged and thrilling aesthetic experience and one remembers gratefully that this is what the novel can do, and indeed does, better than any other art form—it gets the human condition, it skewers and fixes it in all its richness and squalor unlike anything else. The novel is the ‘great book of life' and as long as there are human beings who are readers it will survive and, with a little luck, even flourish. Don DeLillo's
Underworld
is a formidably potent and hugely encouraging testimonial to this undeniable, indomitable and strangely consoling fact.”

—William Boyd,
London Observer

“The most personal and contemplative of DeLillo's novels . . . 
Underworld
confirms that contemporary American fiction's most promising movement involves novels on a large social and historical scale that stretch the norms of narrative and language.”

—Vince Passaro,
Harper's

“Underworld
surges with magisterial confidence through time and through space.”

—Martin Amis,
The New York Times Book Review

“The sheer size of the imaginative act is what is so impressive about this novel. That, and the beauty of its imagery. . . . 
Underworld
is a magnificent book by an American master.”

—Salman Rushdie

“This novel will make you feel lucky to be alive and reading.”

—Adam Begley, New
York Observer

“Magnificent . . . a miracle.”

—John Leonard,
The Nation

“Courageous, ingenious and demanding,
Underworld
is a book to be talked about . . . for years to come.”

—Tom LeClair,
The Atlantic Monthly

“Underworld's
intellect, its view, its fabulous drama, its soul, its passion and compassion, and the beauty of the writing, just the size and generosity of it, are all of some spectacular high order. I can't imagine any writer reading it without complete admiration and a kind of gratitude, because if a book like that can be written in a culture like this, it's terrific for all of us.”

—Michael Herr

“Constantly pleasing not merely for the licked-finish illusionism with which he reproduces speech, or the camera eye he brings to bear on diverse contexts, but for the ways in which the renditions of those things will depart from the known or expected.”

—Luc Sante,
The New York Review of Books

“Utterly extraordinary . . . in its epic ambition and accomplishment,
Underworld
calls out for comparison with works like those of Bely or Balzac that have defined the consciousness of their age.”

—Melvin Jules Bukiet,
Chicago Tribune Books

“You pick up and travel with DeLillo anywhere—the bliss of a baseball game, the meeting of old lovers in a desert. He offers us another history of ourselves, the unofficial underground moments. He smells the music in argument and brag. He throws the unbitten coin of fame back at us. This book is an aria and a wolf-whistle of our half-century. It contains multitudes.”

—Michael Ondaatje

“Astonishing. A sprawling and spectacular look at a half-century in American life as seen through a series of multiple visions that come flashing into our consciousness in ways that are endlessly enlightening and awesome in their insights. DeLillo has raised literary standards to new highs here, and yet the book is a page-turner, a scene-stealer, a triumph of language that takes us everywhere we've never been.”

—Gay Talese

“DeLillo understands the capacity of words to elevate us above the mundane, to establish a distance from things and a mastery over them, a power emerging from the capacity given to Adam, the ability to name.”

—Steven E. Alford,
Houston Chronicle

“Majestic and playful . . . amazingly light and supple for so weighty and elegiac a construction,
Underworld
soars like a cathedral on the audacity of DeLillo's connections.”

—J. Hoberman,
Harper's Bazaar

“Reading DeLillo's books bolsters our belief in the art of fiction: He catches the drift of end-of-the-century life in words, one bright shining sentence after another.”

—Paul Elie,
Elle

“The larger the canvas, the better DeLillo paints. He is a novelist of big themes. . . . 
Underworld
is a tour de force.”

—Geoffrey Norman,
Playboy

“Precise, stark, gorgeous—something perhaps more properly termed a metaphysics of language, rendering and reflecting the mysteries of consciousness, those elusive meanings he and his characters so passionately seek.”

—James Held,
The Philadelphia Inquirer

“DeLillo has written the first defining novel of what we are still calling the post-Cold War period.”

—Thomas Mallon,
GQ

“In years to come, DeLillo's novel will certainly be seen as a perfect document of our paranoid, teeming, deeply nostalgic age.”

—Adam Kirsch,
The Boston Phoenix

“The profundity, the intricacy, the beauty of
Underworld
leaves me in a state of awe. It's one of a handful of novels that will come to define our culture in this century.”

—Bradford Morrow

“DeLillo's breathtaking prose transforms this otherwise bleak wasteland into a thrilling, brilliantly illuminated landscape.”

—Arthur Salm,
The San Diego Union-Tribune

“For those who love eloquent prose and powerful ideas,
Underworld
is an eight-course meal. . . . An eye-opener, a consciousness-raising treatise on modern America by a writer in love with the power of words and the country he calls his own.”

—Dorman T. Shindler,
The Denver Post

“Underworld
soars. Bigger and richer than anything Don DeLillo has done before, this multicharacter, time-leaping, sea-to-shining-sea dissection of Cold War American life is perilously good—so good, so strong, deep, knowing and funny, that you might be tempted to read it and it alone, fanatically, the rest of your days.”

—Phil Hanrahan,
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“One of America's greatest contemporary fiction writers illuminates American Cold War life and its obsessions, weaving history and imagination into a huge and compelling tapestry.”

—Donn Fry,
The Seattle Times/Post Intelligencer

“Anyone who wants to try to understand and appreciate the last half-century of life in these United States can do no better than read Don DeLillo's magnificent, beautifully written and outrageously persuasive new novel,
Underworld
, unquestionably his masterpiece. . . . A triumphant performance.”

—Sam Coale,
Providence Journal-Bulletin

“Underworld
, DeLillo's richest and most ambitious novel, seeks nothing less than the secret truths of modern America.”

—Gary Lee Stonum,
The Plain Dealer

“Magnificent . . . 
Underworld
is the most powerful and original novel that DeLillo, one of the strongest American writers of our time, has written.”

—Peter Wolfe,
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Think of
Underworld
as a successor not to the great American novels of Hemingway, Faulkner and Fitzgerald, but to the Russian masterpieces of Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy. . . . A big, multistoried, glorious, moving novel.

—Philip Gerard,
The Raleigh News and Observer

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Contents

Prologue: The Triumph of Death

Part 1: Long Tall Sally

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Manx Martin 1

Part 2: Elegy For Left Hand Alone

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Part 3: The Cloud of Unknowing

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Manx Martin 2

Part 4: Cocksucker Blues

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Part 5: Better Things for Better living Through Chemistry

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Manx Martin 3

Part 6: Arrangement In Gray and Black

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Epilogue: Das Kapital

To the memory of my mother and father

PROLOGUE
THE TRIUMPH OF DEATH

He speaks in your voice, American, and there's a shine in his eye that's halfway hopeful.

It's a school day, sure, but he's nowhere near the classroom. He wants to be here instead, standing in the shadow of this old rust-hulk of a structure, and it's hard to blame him—this metropolis of steel and concrete and flaky paint and cropped grass and enormous Chesterfield packs aslant on the scoreboards, a couple of cigarettes jutting from each.

Longing on a large scale is what makes history. This is just a kid with a local yearning but he is part of an assembling crowd, anonymous thousands off the buses and trains, people in narrow columns tramping over the swing bridge above the river, and even if they are not a migration or a revolution, some vast shaking of the soul, they bring with them the body heat of a great city and their own small reveries and desperations, the unseen something that haunts the day—men in fedoras and sailors on shore leave, the stray tumble of their thoughts, going to a game.

The sky is low and gray, the roily gray of sliding surf.

He stands at the curbstone with the others. He is the youngest, at fourteen, and you know he's flat broke by the edgy leaning look he hangs on his body. He has never done this before and he doesn't know any of the others and only two or three of them seem to know each other but they can't do this thing singly or in pairs so they have found one another by means of slidy looks that detect the fellow foolhard and here they stand, black kids and white kids up from the subways or off the local Harlem streets, lean shadows, bandidos, fifteen in all, and according to topical legend maybe four will get through for every one that's caught.

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