This is the latest novel by Don Delillo, and it’s a novella, that, and I can’t emphasize this enough, is basically a long short story. It’s a very slim book with large type and big chapter jumps and it comes in at right at 100 pages. It will still set you back $22. There’s about five different mentions that Delillo finished this manuscript before Covid closures happened on the cover and flaps, and my reading up on this suggests that Delillo does not wish this book to associated with Covid.
The reason why this book has those connections at all is because we are watching the Super Bowl and flying in a plane from France to the US, following the minor little discussions the characters are having when something fries the world information systems and all interconnected networks short out at the same time.
The book then is mostly a kind of empty set of discussions on the nature of humanity that were the book three times as long and more richly detailed, would make for a good book. But this book has the faintest of impressions, and the PR campaign that associates it with recent events does it no good service.
I don’t think the book is very strong in the first place, and the conversations often fall into cliche and parody unwittingly, but the final annoyance of the book promising something to say falls flat. In other years it would have slipped into the discussion of the world, and maybe found more to say, but it feels anemic right now.