Review: Zero K

As a huge fan of White Noise I’ve been keen to read more DeLillo for a while so what is the perfect opportunity other than a newly released book? 
I was very excited to read Zero K which I think made my experience of the first half worse than it might have been. While there were plenty of characteristic DeLillo quirks this section did feel like wading through a, somewhat clinical, swamp.

The premise is that Jeffrey Lockhart visits his father’s facility which cryogenically stores the dying and this is soon to be done to Jeffrey’s step mother. The book deals with typical themes of DeLillo but these seem less unified than previous works.

However far be it from me to make a judgement as to the quality of DeLillo’s writing; I believe this is that atmosphere he wanted to create, to emulate the experience of Jeffrey in his readers’ minds.

The second part of the book was in stark contrast allowing for reflection on the first. Like other DeLillo novels there was less plot than musings but he does this well merging the beauty of his language with philosophy and politics.

Zero K skilfully explores our contemporary thoughts and fears on death without pushing too far into the macabre. However some of the ideas feel like at best an extension and at worst a rehash of Falling Man.

Overall I did enjoy this work but not as much as I was hoping to, although it may be unfair for me to compare a novel so profoundly serious to a satire like White Noise and so it certainly does stand on its own merit.


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