End Zone by Don Delillo

I have read a number of The Don’s books and enjoyed nearly all of them (The Names was a bit obtuse). I came to this one through another book I was reading. In fact, that is how I choose my books now, for the most part; if a book is mentioned in one I am reading, I will get hold of it and, in turn, read it. A sort of journey without maps, the shape of which can only be discerned with hindsight. Occasionally I will try something new, just to break free from what could otherwise become an ever-decreasing circle.

But End Zone is really good – funny and a bit odd, but it moves at a lively pace. It is notionally about a college football player in the US, and the culture of sport and how it relates to the culture of warfare. The dialogue is mannered and a long way from being realistic but that, in itself, creates a parallel reality that is, as far as possible, internally consistent. Some things are just flat out weird and random but randomness is one of the themes of the book. Others are: the significance of words and names; the inscrutability of fate and of oversight by others, as perceived by the overseen; and the disconnect between reality as constructed through technical expertise and accompanying jargon, as in war or Americal football, and reality as lived.

A quirky and clever novel, which I recommend.


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