The Names and Ratner's Star are probably Don DeLillo's two most difficult works. They're both dense, brainy and exacting, both laden with pages of abstract theory. In short, they are a long way from the funny, swiftly moving prose of White Noise, Players and Running Dog. Ultimately, though, because The Names is preoccupied with the nature and textures of language, it might be slightly easier for lovers of literature to enjoy. Ratner's Star, on the other hand, delves deeply in the heavy waters of space, time and complex mathematics. As someone who is scientifically and mathematically inept, I can't say I followed the more esoteric portions of the text, but I'm not sure that's the point. Rather, it seems to have been DeLillo's intention to deliberately lose the reader in order to illustrate that the sciences, while seeking to elucidate the wonders of the natural world, often lead us into heightened states of confusion. If you're thinking of reading Ratner's Star, prepare yourself for a challenge. Maybe not on the order of Ulysses or Finnegan's Wake, but difficult nonetheless, particularly in the context of current fiction, which is very often spectacularly undemanding. In terms of plot and narrative, this book deserves perhaps a three (much of it is formless and untethered, a far from the relatively airtight Libra and Underworld). But it is an exacting and complicated book that, like so much of DeLillo's best work, invites us to take a closer look at who we are and what we believe in. And for that it gets five stars.