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Zero K

3.20  ·  Rating details ·  9,773 ratings  ·  1,437 reviews
The wisest, richest, funniest, and most moving novel in years from Don DeLillo, one of the great American novelists of our time—an ode to language, at the heart of our humanity, a meditation on death, and an embrace of life.

Jeffrey Lockhart’s father, Ross, is a billionaire in his sixties, with a younger wife, Artis Martineau, whose health is failing. Ross is the primary in
Hardcover, 274 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by Scribner (first published March 3rd 2016)
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Brandon Peterson If you sign up for a NetGalley account, they're giving some digital copies away. Got mine a couple of days ago.…moreIf you sign up for a NetGalley account, they're giving some digital copies away. Got mine a couple of days ago.(less)

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Average rating 3.20  · 
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Apr 29, 2016 rated it liked it
There is one who remembers the way to your door:
Life you may evade, but Death you shall not.
You shall not deny the Stranger.

—T. S. Eliot, Choruses From The Rock

In death we are all equal. Having to face that mortality and illness of their beloved ones is even beyond their control, as upon death all differences amongst people are erased, some of the high and mighty could consider this an inconvenient truth.

The Convergence, a cult-like movement based in a mysterious, sinister compound close to
Violet wells
I’ve read all DeLillo’s novels except his first, Americana. I’ve read Underworld three times and would make the claim that it’s the best novel written by a currently living novelist. When he’s inspired his prose is as searing, insightful and exciting as it gets. Unfortunately he’s probably had his golden age – White Noise, Libra, Mao II and Underworld are his four masterpieces, written between 1985 and 1997, and pretty much unrivalled by any other living writer as a brilliant sustained feat of e ...more
Kevin Kelsey
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2016
"What was it beyond a concentrated lesson in bewilderment?"

This is my third DeLillo novel. I really enjoyed White Noise but thought the ending was a little fumbled, and I think Cosmopolis is a masterpiece of sorts; a nearly perfect novel. I also have a rule for myself that I'm not allowed to have an opinion on a book if I haven't finished it. I had a real internal struggle maintaining that rule with Zero K.

Nearly every page – all the way up until around the 95% mark – I wanted to just cut m
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
Weird book.

Don DeLillo has long been on my radar. His 1997 novel Underworld is on several lists as being one of the greatest books ever. But it is 800 some odd pages. Many readers will say, 800, so what, I’ve read plenty of books that big. Well, yes, I have too, but let’s do some math. I’m 47 this year. Let’s suppose I live another 30 years and that’s a big IF, and I can read 100 books each year for the rest of my life. That’s another 3,000 books. That’s a lot of books. But it is a drop in the b
Elyse  Walters
I'm a Don DeLillo newbie!

The very first line of the book grabs your attention.
"Everyone wants to own the end of the world"....
I wonder .. am I the only one who took a break -( after just one sentence)-
to locate the group "Tears For Fears"...on their iPhone?....To sing along to "Everybody
Wants to Rule the World"? -- sing & dance a little? I'm sure the talented Don DeLillo wouldn't have cared if an old favorite song got me in the mood for his book. :)

Jeffrey went through great lengths of trave
Angela M
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it

This started out feeling really creepy to me and I wasn't enjoying it. Now that I've finished reading it, I'm finding it hard to stop thinking about it. About one third of the way through I thought about setting it aside but I changed my mind (at least a couple of times) and decided that I had to give it a chance. This was by DeLillo after all, and because he has so eloquently spoken to me in past novels and caused me to think about the things that happened in my lifetime - the impact of technol
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This isn't the first time I'm trying DeLillo, but I don't know if I'd go back to him after this. Yes, empirically I understand, this is the sort of book that wins awards, it's dealing with heavy subjects (mortality, meaning of life, etc.), it's written in that specific language of structured beauty, it is the very edifice of eligibility for the famous lists and shelves, is absolutely unenjoyable to read, profoundly unengaging, thoroughly unentertaining. The concept is interesting initia ...more
Scott Firestone
Feb 23, 2016 rated it did not like it
This was my first DeLillo book, and it might be my last. He was never really on my radar, but the premise of Zero K sounded intriguing: A young man's incredibly wealthy father and stepmother decide to put their bodies into a sort of stasis until medical technology reaches a point where they can live new lives again. I thought it might be a meditation on fathers and sons coming together to work through their pasts. Instead, it's just a mess.

The story is slow, plodding, and seemingly pointless--a
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, aere-perennius
"I'd never felt more human than I did when my mother lay in bed, dying."


"This was not the not the frailty of a man who is said to be 'only human,' subject to weakness or vulnerability. This was a wave of sadness and loss that made me understand that I was a man expanded by grief."
― Don DeLillo, Zero K

I first jumped into DeLillo's unique, hypnotic prose when I read Mao II. His words swelled for me like a sacred mantra. There were other writers before that seduced me, that blew me away with their
[Originally appeared here (with edits):]

The battle to outlive life and peek into the world beyond it has been an area of great fascination. From ages, this unknown, unattainable stage has drawn the attention of thinkers and the results have spanned the entire continuum of credibility and flimsiness.

Zero K fits somewhere on this scale.

The novel follows Jeffrey Lockhart, who is invited by his wealthy father, Ross Lockhart, to witness the final days of his a
Tom LA
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretentiousness has always been the sense that I got from reading snippets of DeLillo's novels. I had the impression that his success was propelled by the same (wrong) reasons why American academia looks down at John Grisham and Stephen King, both seen as too "pop" to be welcomed in the golden temple of literary art, and often dismissed as tripe, while in reality they both very often offer much more interesting plot and development when compared to contemporary literary authors like DeLillo.

May 02, 2016 rated it liked it
(Disclaimer: this is likely the least objective review of this book as you’ll find. I’m a DeLillo apologist, for which I make no, um, apologies.)

(Disclaimer the Second: there’s an awful lot of dopey shit in Zero K; sci fi-isms that really aren’t up my alley. Per disclaimer the First (see above), I was willing to overlook the cryogenics, the stray robot, etc. Like I said, something about that superfox DeLillo and his bedroom eyes just makes me a happy podperson.)

The problem with knocking it out o
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
No word out of place.

I'm a DeLillo Newbie, so don't take my word for it. This is only my seventh; and I've read little to no secondary, etc ; and nothing pre=White Noise. For the real word, you'll want to ask the DeLillo Fanatic, most competent to separate the Better from the Best, who's spent more than a European Vacation with him. The DeLillo Fanatic knows.

Also (ie, today's discussion=thesis), you'll note just from the blurbs that this, like last year's Ignored Book of the Year, Book of Number
A book about words, about names and the act of naming. A book about death that is also very much about its opposite, life. A narrator, obsessed with naming everyone who crosses his path. His discovery that his father, who walked out one night while the son was doing his math homework (leaving him with the words sine cosine tangent as a mantra and with an interest in numbers that is second only to his obsession with names) changed his name.

In Don DeLillo’s new novel, Zero K, Ross Lockhart (and th
Helene Jeppesen
Aug 31, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm 1/3 into this book and I'm DNF'ing it. To be honest, I feel like this book is one long pretentious ramble on death and religion, and it's written in a fragmented language which I've never been a fan of. It's more of a meditation on life than it's an actual story, and I'm just not a fan... ...more
Ron Charles
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: apocalyptic
Don DeLillo is thinking about death.

Admittedly, that’s not breaking news. DeLillo has been thinking about death — his, ours, America’s — over the whole span of his extraordinary career. But now, at 79, the author of such modern classics as “White Noise” and “Underworld” has produced his most funereal novel.

“Zero K,” a slim, grim nightmare in print, opens with a trip halfway around the world. The narrator, a young man named Jeffrey Lockhart, has been summoned to the Convergence, a compound in the
Jan Rice
Last week for my birthday I went to hear the variously reconstituted 1960s-era Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, not because I was particularly attached to them or any of their songs but more on an impulse, and while listening I found I was coming to some conclusion about how to review Don DeLillo's Zero K, which I had just finished.

I don't relate easily to Don DeLillo's books, and this one was no exception. The main character, Jeffrey Lockhart, comes across bloodless and lost in anomie. Other adjectives
Ian "Marvin" Graye

Distillation of the Spirit

There's a common misapprehension that the shorter Don DeLillo's novels get, the more there is something lacking in them. This view is related to the veneration of post-modernist maximalism (which has by and large shunned DeLillo since "Underworld").

In reality, the shorter they become, the more condensed and concentrated they are. DeLillo's writing has undergone a process of distillation, if it's not exactly an embrace of minimalism. The closer he and his f
Mattia Ravasi
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Featured in my Top 20 Books I Read in 2016:

Yet another ethereal, slow DeLillo novel where today's absurdities and horrors are pitched against the wonders and complexities of language, thought, and everyday life. More compelling, fascinating and layered than possibly any other post-Underworld DeLillo novel.
Michael Finocchiaro
I found Zero K highly derivative and poorly written. It really does not bring up any new ideas but just mashes up old ones. One might try to make excuses for him based on his age (and maybe he is hoping for this kind of cryogenic technology to defy death himself), but his contemporary Pynchon still puts out readable, original books (Bleeding Edge, Inherent Vice) in his later years.
Apr 04, 2016 rated it liked it
"Everyone wants to own the end of the world." Thus, opens this newest novel by Don DeLillo and these are the words of the protagonist's father, Ross Lockhart, who becomes obsessed with cryogenics when his wife becomes ill. The novel begins with the narrator traveling to the Convergence, located somewhere in Russia, so that his step-mother can be frozen, so that she might return many years later. At Convergence, there is no sense of time or even identity. People there are cut off from the rest of ...more
Roger Brunyate
Jun 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: art, fantasy-surreal
Rocks are, but they do not exist

"Rocks are, but they do not exist," the quotation from Heidegger may well encapsulate the theme of this entire novel. Then again, maybe not. Heidegger's point, I think, is that existence implies consciousness and a knowledge of the alternatives, which is something that only human beings can achieve. DeLillo's novel, which is set in a cryogenic facility buried in a desert in one of the former Soviet -Stans, approaches this knowledge by focusing on death, and the co
W.D. Clarke
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a difficult book for me to review—and a challenging one to read, much less enjoy. And I do enjoy* Uncle Don, usually (the sole exceptions being The Body Artist and Cosmopolis, pretty much). Delillo's meditation on Death, language and technology was intermittantly compelling, and occasionally flummoxed me. Sometimes I had the feeling that I was being initiated into a new way of seeing and thinking about things. Other sections left me doubting my ability to understand anything—much like th ...more
Bam cooks the books ;-)
Death: Would you postpone it indefinitely if given the chance--if you had enough money and the technology was available? Would you choose to be frozen and your body stored until a time when your disease could be cured? Would you bet that a future world would be that much better than ours? Would you take a chance that you might be able to live forever by dying now?

Ross Lockhart, an American billionaire in his 60s, is the primary investor in a remote and secret facility called Convergence where sc
Mike W
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am fascinated by time. I love thinking about it, I love talking about it and I love reading about it. Zero K is a profound novel about many things, one of them being time, and so, I must disclose my bias up front. It is also a novel that on its surface appears to be an easy read. Just 274 pages, double spaced. Make no mistake though, this is deep reading and I found myself having to stop, go back and re-read at several points during each reading session. The best books don’t fully reveal thems ...more
Such an interesting idea... wasted
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
One of my favorites of 2016. For some reason I stopped reading DeLillo after Underworld, when he'd begun publishing the slighter-seeming novellas and stories. I can't recall now why. But this was a strange and dreamlike reading experience, also very associative, in that it continually evoked associations between its imagery and mood to other films and books. The effect was in no way derivative, nor like homage, nor self-reference, just maybe an underlying cultural awareness that DeLillo evinces. ...more
Jan 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
"catastrophe is built into the early brain."
while respecting his place in american letters, i've never been overly fond of delillo's books (or at least the few i've read). nonetheless, eagerness got the better of me, as something about zero k's premise intrigued me greatly. tinged with elements of an atwood-like plot, delillo's latest is a father-and-son story situated within a world overrun by disaster, warfare, drought, virus, mass die-offs, and cryonic technologies. spanning a couple of y
Laurie Anderson
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: literaryish
Some gorgeous sentences and a terrific premise, but the monotonous tone and meandering philosophical rants are not my cup of tea.

Your mileage may vary.
Stephen P
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Watching DeLillo move about his craft is a quiet wonder. A wonder I did not assume I might get to see again. But there he was sliding the letters, sentences, paragraphs, into the kiln. He flips and turns dials conjugating the readings into intricate adjustments. So patient is his waiting. When finally a ring is sounded that only he can hear he slides the softened measure of his words out in their sheened glaze.

This is DeLillo for me; not necessarily the political, psychological, philosophical, c
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Don DeLillo is an American author best known for his novels, which paint detailed portraits of American life in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. He currently lives outside of New York City.

Among the most influential American writers of the past decades, DeLillo has received, among author awards, a National Book Award (White Noise, 1985), a PEN/Faulkner Award (Mao II, 1991), and an American

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