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Underworld (1997)

de Don DeLillo

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaConversas / Menções
7,986851,104 (3.89)1 / 257
A 1950s teenage hood from New York is transformed by the Jesuits into a respectable man, managing hazardous waste. A portrait of the decade from the viewpoint of the garbage industry.
Adicionado recentemente porjmvinagre, DrumSound, Jackie9, biblioteca privada, fwm, arianonymous, 11justsomekid, AWULS, Donnela, D.Prisson
Bibliotecas HistóricasDavid Foster Wallace, Terence Kemp McKenna, William Gaddis
  1. 30
    The Savage Detectives de Roberto Bolaño (chrisharpe)
    chrisharpe: Bolaño's novel is set mostly In Mexico City, rather than the US. He uses some similar techniques to DeLillo to produce a much more accomplished and interesting work. It will probably appeal to those who enjoyed Underworld.
  2. 20
    Arco-íris da gravidade de Thomas Pynchon (BrandonSiguenza)
  3. 22
    Cannery Row de John Steinbeck (xtien)
  4. 00
    The Weight of Numbers de Simon Ings (ShelfMonkey)
  5. 12
    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay de Michael Chabon (igorken)
  6. 01
    Deuses Americanos de Neil Gaiman (Hibou8)
    Hibou8: Profound, and profoundly american.

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» Veja também 257 menções

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Mostrando 1-5 de 85 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
There is an important reason why Underworld is written from future to past. The artist in the desert, painting a deactivated aircraft from the cold war times, is trying to process the past from a nation that is lost to time. Such an understanding must arise from the creation of meaning to fill in the gaps, as she does with the pin-up girl left as a souvenir in the B-52. What she tries to process is as much the story of a nation in the uncertain limbo between the ending of an era and the start of a new one, where things just do not seem real, as she remarks, as it is about herself, and a past that cannot be recalled, even if it made her as she is today, as well as the man who comes searching for it in her in 1992.

History can only be understood by walking backwards in time. What explains each scar is a story that is not told upright, but hidden in between every line. Underworld follows DeLillo's usual tropes of dialogue, where everything that's important is everything that is not mentioned. It's just not possible to understand the paranoia of nuclear threat, you have to live under it. Yet this is what we try, to make sense of everything that's happening. This is why the story is told backwards: the reason behind every event lies in something happening just before that. Underworld is a story about a nation just how it is about each one of its inhabitants.

That's why I find this book so incredibly dense and hard to read. Every part has enough content to be a standalone book, but every line is meaningless if not attached to a before and after. Such complex relationships are multisided, revealing something that does not concern only those immediately involved. That's why Nick Shay is allowed to hold the ball from the shot heard round the world, and to claim it is a symbol of defeat. ( )
  _takechiya | Nov 29, 2023 |
Disclaimer: It is entirely possible I did not understand this book at all and what follows is meaningless babble.

Of all the books I have ever read I believe Underworld might be the hardest to review. Not because of the star rating. That is a 5 without question. The writing here is dazzling. This is historical fiction deconstructed, reconstructed, and then thrown into a supercharged industrial blender and shot out into the cosmos. Our “hero” works in “waste management” and a recurring theme here is the creative ways we prettify the fact of our waste products, from actual shit to plutonium waste, helping us to ignore the fact that all this waste, submerged or made into building materials or buried, or whatever, is destroying the planet. The parallel between the way in which DeLillo treats historical fiction (and the way he treats history for that matter) and the waste management sleight of hand is a terrifying yet fun way to render evil genius. He turns the metaphors used by marketers to make the most pernicious toxic things seem like gifts to the world into a metaphor for humans creating a glossy version of the past and future they can live with. He uses a central metaphor as a second central metaphor. It is breathtaking.

DeLillo seems to repudiate nostalgia here (a concept I wholeheartedly embrace.) The past is special because we want it to be special. We create false memories and expunge anything problematic. The value of memory is no more than mass delusion. “Every memory we have is, finally, of ourselves. If the memory of an experience is flawed, there is a rift in the continuity of self.” We are fiddling with the past, creating a good-ol-days myth in order to get a hit of dopamine and forget we are inexorably moving toward an end we ourselves have ordained. The past is filled with as much or more evil than the present but people agree to apply and validate the nostalgia filter because mass delusion gives us succor and hope in a harsh and hopeless world. That nostalgia filter is no different from the delusions of people who see statues of the Virgin Mary weep or the face of Jesus in a water stain on a building, just a delusion born of privilege rather than want.

Despite Underworld's brilliance as a whole, and maybe because there is no plot (as there is no plot in life) sometimes the whole thing seems to kind of fall apart. There are lulls – long lulls that left me pretty disconnected from the rest of the story. But, though it wanders off frequently, the book comes charging back every time to this concept of life and memory as a euphemism, like Glenn Close popping up spring-loaded in Michael Douglas’ tub. When I was poking around trying to pump myself up to read this book, I came across a quote from Martin Amis’ review of this book that really sums things up: “Underworld may or may not be a great novel, but there is no doubt that it renders DeLillo a great novelist.” Those lulls are problematic, but they are the packaging for utter brilliance.

Lenny Bruce comes up a lot in this book. He is not simply mentioned. DeLillo recreates several Bruce performances while tunneling into Bruce’s brilliant, tragic, overfilled head. While this is well done I started wondering a bit past the halfway point why Don kept doing this and why he kept focusing on the way Bruce ping-ponged between funny traditionally structured bawdy insightful jokes and profound, decidedly unfunny, observations about human cruelty and idiocy and brilliance, and the inevitability that those things will drive us to destroy ourselves (Bruce’s tagline, “we’re all gonna diiiiiiiiiiiiie,” is the chorus here.) At first it was easy to connect Bruce’s routines to the specter of nuclear annihilation. After wondering about that for a while I realized that DeLillo had coopted Bruce’s structure for this book. He intersperses incredibly funny and traditionally structured scenes with profound, decidedly unfunny observations about human cruelty and idiocy, and brilliance, and the inevitability that those things will drive us to destroy ourselves. I think DeLillo uses some of the lulls the same way as the humor. All of it wraps up profound truth, Delillo is a modern-day Lenny who understands you can't keep an audience with a spare recitation of terrifying truth.

A couple of random notes on things that really impressed me. First, while parts of this book are firmly rooted in the language and thought processes of the 60’s. 70’s and 80’s DeLillo was disturbingly prescient, and much of this feels very current. He saw the danger of things that have now come to roost but which when this was written most just saw as progress. Second, the book launches with what could easily have been published as a free-standing novella set at one of the most famous baseball game moments ever (Bobby Thomson’s walk-off home run in the 1951 National League Dodgers- Giants pennant game a/k/a “the shot heard round the world.”) This opening novella stands as one of the finest pieces of writing I have ever read. Even if you decide not to invest in this giant book, 827 pages that require complete mental focus pretty much all the time, you should read the first part. You should bear in mind though that the epilogue is a response of sorts to that opening bit of nostalgia. The ending also, it gives us some closure on the baseball which is hit in the opening and sails through these pages. Never has a baseball worked this hard, but though dinged up it manages to knit the book together.

I will shut up now and hope at least a couple of people will be inspired to take on this boulder of a book.

*This book weighs about 10 pounds. It is not totable so I got the audio to listen to on the subway, and I read the hardcover at home. The audio was enjoyable so I don't not recommend it, but this is a book you want to read in print. When I listened on the train and got home and picked up the book it felt like I had never seen/heard the portions I listened too. I couldn't figure out where I was. Nearly every time I listened I ended up going back and reading the text. ( )
  Narshkite | Oct 4, 2023 |
A través de las vidas de Nick y Clara, dos antiguos amantes que se reencuentran después de muchos años, Submundo recorre la historia de la segunda mitad del siglo XX en Estados Unidos. Don DeLillo nos ofrece una visión única del alma de la sociedad americana moderna. Desde el Bronx y las grandes salas de baile de Nueva York hasta Vietnam y la guerra fría, figuras que marcaron una época se mezclan con seres anónimos, y unos y otros iluminan el pasado y el significado de la memoria. Submundo es una obra de arte polifónica que acepta todos los desafíos, un clásico contemporáneo de lectura imprescindible.
  Natt90 | Mar 23, 2023 |
The USSR should have won the Cold War ( )
  bluestraveler | Aug 15, 2022 |
I actually miss this monster of a book. I have a lot of complicated feelings about it that I may never work through completely. ( )
  J.Flux | Aug 13, 2022 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 85 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Don DeLillo
traduit de l'américain par M. Véron, Actes Sud
«Ce qu'il interroge, avec entêtement, c'est la façon dont tout un peuple devenu paranoïaque réorganise sa vie dans un monde postatomique.» Catherine Argand (Lire, avril 1999)
adicionado por Joop-le-philosophe | editarL'Express, LEXPRESS.fr (Nov 1, 2005)
'"Underworld" is a victim of its own ambition: by trying to cover such a wide range of characters and situations, DeLillo loses track of some of them' ... 'Despite its faults DeLillo has created an ambitious and powerful novel...'
adicionado por GYKM | editarSpike Magazine, Gary Marshall (Dec 1, 1998)
This "is his best novel and perhaps that most elusive of creatures, a great American novel."
adicionado por GYKM | editarSan Francisco Chronicle, David Wiegand (Sep 21, 1997)

» Adicionar outros autores (13 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Don DeLilloautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Herbert, FrankTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Mikulášková, LucieTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Reinharez, IsabelleCollaboratrice à la traduction françaiseautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Véron, MarianneTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado



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A 1950s teenage hood from New York is transformed by the Jesuits into a respectable man, managing hazardous waste. A portrait of the decade from the viewpoint of the garbage industry.

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