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The Book Review: ‘Zero K’ by Don Delillo

Jenny Lyons of the Vermont Bookshop in Middlebury, Vt., recommends “Zero K”by Don DeLillo ($27, Scribner): Don DeLillo, National Book award winner and author of 15 novels including Underworld and Falling Man, takes a close look at our possible environmental and social near future in this compelling new novel. Jeffrey Lockhart’s father, Ross, a billionaire in his sixties, with a younger wife, Artis Martineau, whose health is failing, are the major investors in a secret biomedical compound in a remote location. Jeffrey, Ross’s somewhat estranged son, is summoned to the compound to say goodbye to his stepmother, Artis, who will be “preserved” until such time she can awake to a new world. Ross and Artis are deeply committed to the people and process, however skeptical the rest of the world and, in particular, Jeff, may be. As Jeff navigates the nuances of his situation, he looks for chinks in the foundation of the compound, asks all of our questions and rebels with an idealist’s view of how life is supposed to be lived. This is a memorable portrait of a family, an end-of-life decision-making process, and also, at its core, a coming of age story of the remarkably realized hero, Jeff. An air of intrigue keeps the reader riveted. This is Don DeLillo in top form as a writer.

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