Zero K

Zero K

A Novel

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
4
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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.

Jeffrey Lockhart's father, Ross, is a billionaire in his sixties, with a younger wife, Artis Martineau, whose health is failing. Ross is the primary investor in a remote and secret compound where death is exquisitely controlled and bodies are preserved until a future time when biomedical advances and new technologies can return them to a life of transcendent promise. Jeff joins Ross and Artis at the compound to say "an uncertain farewell" to her as she surrenders her body.

"We are born without choosing to be. Should we have to die in the same manner? Isn't it a human glory to refuse to accept a certain fate?"

These are the questions that haunt the novel and its memorable characters, and it is Ross Lockhart, most particularly, who feels a deep need to enter another dimension and awake to a new world. For his son, this is indefensible. Jeff, the book's narrator, is committed to living, to experiencing "the mingled astonishments of our time, here, on earth."

Don DeLillo's seductive, spectacularly observed and brilliant new novel weighs the darkness of the world--terrorism, floods, fires, famine, plague--against the beauty and humanity of everyday life; love, awe, "the intimate touch of earth and sun."

Zero K is glorious.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2016.
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781501135392
1501135392
Branch Call Number: FIC DeLil
Characteristics: 274 pages ; 24 cm.
Alternative Title: 0 K

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Hadley
Feb 07, 2017

DeLillo's latest came highly recommended by some people I trust, and I enjoyed most of his 1997 novel Underworld, so I was eager to dip into it. Despite its relatively short length, I found it wavered between dull and actively aggravating, and was a chore to finish. No humans have ever had conversations like the ones that take place in Zero K. The moral questions the book raises—If technology lets us live to be 500, do we want to? Who gets to live and who doesn't? And what if the planet is a giant dumpster fire when the technology promised by cryogenics allows us to return to life?—could be interesting, but they're not in this book.

p
PearlyBaker
Nov 16, 2016

I can sum this piece up in one word: boring, pretentious, serpentine, indecipherable, pedestrian tedious and pedantic. I was excited to find a new author whom I thought I could follow especially since my favorite librarian suggested this one to me. I am not sure I'll be able to make eye contact with her ever again. However, there is also the possibility that I am not smart enough to read books of this caliber or they are just not bag, as it were.

Bearddis May 27, 2016

I can understand why some would not enjoy this book. First of all, to simply say this book is about death and the questions that arise from it is a bit misleading. The bulk of the text is much more like living in the mind of someone else and for me it felt much more personal and real. Not like reading a narrative of someone else's story or journey or thoughts but actually inhabiting their mind, being a silent observer. I absolutely loved every word of this book. If you're looking for a typical story driven narrative this book will not leave you satisfied. While it may not be a unique experience for everyone (more particularly avid readers) it certainly was for me. If you've ever wondered what it's like to be in someone else's mind this book is for you.

s
sess430
May 24, 2016

The protagonist suffers from a lot of ennui, which didn't make for a compelling character. In assuming that people can be cryogenically preserved and brought back to life in the future, DeLillo does pose interesting questions about whether it would even be desirable. Will one have the same personality? memories? Will the planet have a renewed or ravaged environment? Even so, I just never reached a feeling of engagement with it. Maybe because I compared it to his excellent book, White Noise.

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