Friday May 06, 2016

Should I Read It? Becky Toyne reviews "Zero K" by Don DeLillo

Author's picture on the book jacket of his latest novel, Zero K

Author's picture on the book jacket of his latest novel, Zero K (Simon & Schuster)

Listen 10:01

Don DeLillo's much-anticipated new novel "Zero K" is out and Day 6 books columnist Becky Toyne says, yes you should read it.

"It's amazing that he's 79 years old and he's written a book like this," Toyne tells host Brent Bambury. "It's very immersive, it's claustrophobic," though she does add that "it might not be the kind of thing you want to take and read as your summer beach read."

DeLillo is one of the most celebrated living American authors.

"Zero K" is his first novel since 2010 and the sixteenth of his career. In his work DeLillo has returned frequently to explore themes of death, isolation, terrorism and the influence of the mass media and the general decay of society.

Toyne tells Bambury all those themes are present in "Zero K." 

"It is sort of a summary of sorts of the preoccupations of his career."

In "Zero K," DeLillo paints a bleak version of present day, in which advances in cryonics allow the super-rich to be frozen before death, disembowelled and enshrined until science finds the answer to mortality.

"The potential future is juxtaposed with the catastrophic present" - Becky Toyne on Don DeLillo`s 'Zero K'

"The people who are freezing themselves, they hope to wake up at some point in the future possibly after the social and environmental collapse of the world as we know it," says Toyne. "The potential future is juxtaposed with the catastrophic present. Will people wake up to a better future or will they wake up to any future at all."

Day 6 has two copies of "Zero K" to give away. To enter our random draw, send an e-mail to day6@cbc.ca with the word DELILLO in the subject line. Be sure to include your mailing address. We'll pick two winners at random before next week's show.