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Underworld: A Novel [Audio Cassette]

3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (287 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any aspirational author March 26 2004
Format:Paperback
I first read Underworld four years ago and it's one of the few books I've read that had a major impact on me. It was also the first book by DeLillo I read and as soon as I finished it I went straight out and bought everything else he'd ever written, something I've only done with one other author, Joseph Heller.
The similarity between these two authors is that they both showed me just how great the modern novel can be. Despite what may be written elsewhere DeLillo's writing is anything but untruthful or affected. He does his best not to criticise or judge but to simply show a warts and all snapshot of the different ways it is possible for people to think in the world we live in today. Underworld is a beautiful book, funny and wistful, it's not the easiest book in the world to read but every sentence is rewarding. Once you've finished it I'm sure you'll do the same as I did and buy the rest of work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I don't usually read fiction, but this book ... Feb. 29 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Absolutely beautiful! I usually do not read fiction but this book has captured my heart from its first chapter. Beautifully written, easily readable, touching. Although the action might not be captivating, Don Dellilo's words are. The way he paints characters, feelings and situations is unmatched. I would leave a quote from the book but there are too many worth mentioning.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Dec 7 2003
Format:Paperback
Quite possibly the most beautifully written book of my lifetime. For those born in the 1970s, this is your Ulysses and Sound and the Fury. Each neatly woven sentence was like looking at a painting. In fact, some of the scenes were so perfectly written that I thought it was me who was there.
Absolutely stunning.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Uncontestable Classic Feb. 4 2004
Format:Paperback
This is easily one of the most remarkable novels in all of modern American letters. Granted, it dwells in that rarified and charicteristically self-selecting family of novels such as "Gravity's Rainbow," "Under the Volcano," "Moby Dick," The Sound an the Fury" or, even, "Absalom, Absalom,"etc., etc.
The thing about this book that gets me-and it shares this with all of the above- is how it resonates in the soul, man! This book- lumbering, frustrating, maddening thing that it is- ultimately folds you into it; you, as the reader hauling all his or her own correspondences and shared history-become complicit in all the smallness and grandeur of the later 20th century DeLillo evokes. And, ultimately, this book changes the way you think, and the way you see things.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars of men and baseballs Dec 9 2003
Format:Paperback
underworld is truly a wonderful book. on one hand, it traces out the path a famous baseball takes during the course of its life. the book, of course, is loaded with much more. whether it is the story of a man that killed someone as a teenager (who now lives a rather normal life), the myth of a ship travelling around the world, constantly denied port, a family trying to understand their abandonment, or experiencing a sinking feeling as a father steals from his son, delillo constantly has the reader engaged. as with any of his books, he has us laughing (in near hysterics) at times, hoping for the best at others, and feeling nothing as a man gets is face blown off. his ability to make us experience along with the characters is remarkable, whether sympathizing with a cuckold or being captivated by a desert of interestingly painted airplanes.
so, who should read this book? probably anyone that likes any kind of book will find something to enjoy. the thrillers/mysteries will want to know who gets killed (interesting twist on the traditional, no?), the comedies will be choked with mirth, the dramatists will cringe, and the philosophers will be fully occupied. this book, as it were, has it all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Stories of Americans tied together by a possibly apocryphal piece of baseball memorobilia - the ball which connected with Bobby Thompson's bat to make the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" - aspire to make something profound out of the superficial. At the very least, the stories succeed in being surreal, which may describe America during the Cold War better than any other adjective.
The book is not a complete picture of America; there could be no such book. But it gives a glimpse into the collective mind and soul of the baby-boomer generation better than anything I've ever read. Read this and watch Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanor's and you'll have a pretty good perspective on the dark side of post-WW2 America. However, a realistic "Generation X" character is lacking. The children of baby-boomers are portrayed either as followers or as loners; perhaps anything more textured would be beyond the scope of the book.
But in general there is more texture here than you'll know what to do with. Have fun..
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "must read" April 20 2004
Format:Paperback
This is one of the best novels I have read in years. It was difficult to put down. Is Delillo pretentious? Sure, and so are a lot of other great writers. I will continue to re-read Underworld, because I suspect that it becomes more powerful the longer the reader has lived life.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Much Worth the Read Oct. 22 2003
Format:Paperback
The range of reactions about this book among the reviewers here is testimony to the strengths and weaknesses of DeLillo's UNDERWORLD.
The book's first chapter, which takes place in Ebbitt's Field on the day Bobby Thompson hit THE homer, to me, is a terrific tour de force, as is the episode where the protagonist, Nick Shay, commits manslaughter. These scenes would have been disastrous from the keyboard of another writer.
Secrets and codes abound: the numerology surrounding Thompson's home run, the clues of the Zapruder film, the secret of shoe making, computer codes, an artist's secret language, the unfathomable DNA of AIDS... All this make for an intriguing book to say the least.
On the negative side, the book does try to cover too much. Whereas a film like Forrest Gump encompasses much of Cold War America, the screenwriters were very selective about what they would use from the novel of the same name: they only used the historic elements that had an effect on Forrest and on the viewer. DeLillo has just about everything here, and this is what I think upset the reviewers who didn't like the novel: 800 pages that can't possibly all be relevant. In a sense, I agree that the parts are better than the whole. But those parts! WOW! Even if this book were half its length, it would still be two times better than everything else out there. Read this book; you'll see why, as of this writing, over 275 people had a strong reaction (mostly positive) to it!
Rocco Dormarunno, author of The Five Points and The Five Points Concluded
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