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End Zone

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  2,489 Ratings  ·  232 Reviews
At Logos College in West Texas, huge young men, vacuum-packed into shoulder pads and shiny helmets, play football with intense passion. During an uncharacteristic winning season, the perplexed and distracted running back Gary Harkness has periodic fits of nuclear glee; he is fueled and shielded by his fear of and fascination with nuclear conflict. Among some of the players ...more
Paperback, 242 pages
Published January 7th 1986 by Penguin Books (first published 1972)
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Mar 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2014

"The language game is so to say something unpredictable. I mean, it is not based on grounds. It is not reasonable (or unreasonable). It is there—like our life" - Wittgenstein

Once in Jr. High, I was playing a game of rugby (or as close to a game of rugby as you can get weighing 95lbs at a small private school in Provo, UT) and was totally blindsided during the 'game'. There was a moment after I pulled my face out of the dirt where I tasted both blood and clarity. Everything seemed at once to poss
Violet wells
For someone who knows virtually nothing about American football this wasn’t an easy novel for me to read. The only two Delillo novels I hadn’t read were this and Americana, his first and I’m determined to complete the set. I think it was Martin Amis who said that when we say we love an author we generally mean we love half of the novels written by them. This is certainly true for me with regards DeLillo. I hated Ratner’s Star and was left indifferent by Point Omega, Cosmopolis and Players. Howev ...more
Ian "Marvin" Grayejoy
An Explosion Over the Desert

You could spend weeks or even months inside this short novel.

It's as rewarding as it is challenging.

There are multiple characters with multiple points of view. It's not clear whether any are supposed to represent DeLillo's reconciled or concluded views, or, rather, whether it's the debate that matters (and that that debate could and should continue).

The debate concerns reality, consciousness, identity, silence and language. Oh yeah, and war and football and weight los
Nick Wellings
Aug 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Splendid book, near perfect in places.

Sterile declarative verbal utterances imitate speech and unfurl as prettily as perfect football plays. However, meaning teeters on the edge of blank tautology that in the end declares only the unsaid: the core of modern angst that is Delillo's abiding theme in most of his books. This is speech that does violence to language as the footballers of Harkness' college do violence to each other both on and off field.

In places the novel is hilarious. The football g
Cathy Shive
Jul 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
football is not warfare. warfare is warfare and history is the placement of bodies.
I must be a complete cock, because whenever anyone talks about football—including, as here, the august DeLillo—I immediately revert to my Waterboy roots:
Foos-ball? Buncha overgrown monsters man-handlin' each other... 'Member when dat man wanted you to play foos-ball, Bobby?
As I’ve said elsewhere, it’s more probable than not that I’m an original goodreads asshole. For this review, at least, this is because I was traumatized by high school foos-ball and still have fucking nightmares about it, exc
Jun 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, fiction
Distinctive and darkly humorous look at the intersection of football and thermonuclear war and the rituals and neuroses of both. DeLillo's distinctive and lovely prose style also benefits the book - this early work shows some of the techniques he would develop much later.
Jack Waters
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
Infinite variables at play interact with slightly enough displacement to alter trajectories, plans, ordered assumption.

So then, football. War. The human search for meaning.

Regardless of planned action, injurious results are to be expected. Nonetheless, it leaves witnesses aghast.

Spit intended to hit the ground instead of pants; a triply-converged-tackle killing a footballer; a set of pale legs distended from a wrecked auto. The effects churn the affected state; are you altered, or is the course
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
Perhaps this is a little bit difficult to explain, but trapped within this novel of frustratingly psuedo-intellectual conversations, for instance, regarding the nature of nihilism, is a very real attempt to understand, the posturing of language fitting well to convey the ideas and the attitudes, the wanderings and the self-inflated egos and poorly thought out convictions that plague the youth of the world. It is a novel about finding the self, and it is, even more so, about the fear of losing it ...more
-¿Qué es esa foto que tiene pegada a la pared?¿Quién es la chica?
-Es Teresa de Ávila. Era una mujer notable.Una santa de la iglesia¿Sabes qué hacía para recordarse a sí misma el final de las cosas?...Comía usando de cuenco un cráneo humano.
Jack Waters
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
Love DeLillo, love End Zone. D.F. Wallace, my favorite author, clearly borrowed a few pages late in this novel for his incredible 'Eschaton' section of Infinite Jest.
Alan Chen
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to summarize DeLillo's works or even to talk about what they're about because the plot is rarely the most interesting part of the novel. The novel encompasses football, nuclear weapons, homesickness, loneliness, war, and what I find most engaging, a young person trying to find himself through the exploration of the world around him and discussion of ideas. Harkness is a talented football player that has been kicked out of two schools already because he acts out or breaks down after a c ...more
Mar 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up for 75 cents in a used clothing store in central Tucson, not having read anything by DeLillo since Underworld, and found that I'd been missing DeLillo's fierce intelligence and strange, incantatory poetic vision. But what really surprised me was his humor. As when reading Underworld, I was continually struck by the stylist's able hand with complex concepts, but here, perhaps because of the book's size, or maybe because it is the work of an author who still hadn't assumed his pos ...more
Written over a decade before White Noise, it's a whole lot of DeLillo ideas in their embryonic forms. Nuclear war, metaphor upon metaphor, America as incoherent fever dream, sort of humor that really isn't humor. The only problem is that as a young writer, he tried to condense these things into a fairly short book. They need to be given breathing room. As in White Noise, or, better yet, Underworld, which is a great and magisterial tome. But hey, it's early work, and it's got some of that wonderf ...more
Review coming soon
Ritesh Kukrety
Jul 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ab_surd
Don DeLillo's End Zone is a curiously absurd book. It is as much about what's written within its pages - about football, about life, about identity, about solipsism - as it is about what's not said - the threat of the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the institutional racism that was (and remains) hidden behind the facade of niceties because people just don't know any better. Silence - that's a major theme in the book. Silence after a Holocaust; silence of a city turned into a massive tombstone. It is ...more
Sentimental Surrealist
I kinda feel like DeLillo runs his typically crazyass premise - football as a metaphor for war - into the ground a little here, but then the sort-of famous line about football not being a metaphor for war because war is a metaphor for war is one of those brilliant acts of subversion only DeLillo could pull... in the man's typical style, it's pretty much impossible to tell if he's fucking with us, pulling his whole premise out from under our feet and asking us to look elsewhere for the answer, or ...more
Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-count-08, sport
Have you ever been reading a book and been kind of lost? I mean, you understand what’s going on and who the different characters are, but you’re lost as to the purpose of the book? I felt that way about Don DeLillo’s End Zone. I understood the basic plot - a small West Texas college football team’s season, as told by one of the running backs, who is obsessed with nuclear war - but pages and pages of rambling monologues and dialogues went by and I didn’t get anything out of them. I felt as though ...more
Lee Monks
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“I have a deep thought for you. Science fiction is just beginning to catch up with the Old Testament. See artificial nitrates run off into the rivers and oceans. See carbon dioxide melt the polar ice caps. See the world's mineral reserves dwindle. See war, famine and plague. See barbaric hordes defile the temple of virgins. See wild stallions mount the prairie dogs. I said science fiction but I guess I meant science. Anyway there's some kind of mythical and/or historic circle-thing being complet ...more
Mar 07, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-give-up
this is a total guy book.
Nov 12, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disappointing
Starts great- DeLillo wanders without much plot and the whole book falls apart. Sort of like a cake made badly. Still a cake, but needs more structure.
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en

End Zone de Don Delillo. Demasiado fútbol

En octubre Seix Barral (otro de los sellos de Planeta, por si alguien no lo sabe) nos trae la última novela que nos faltaba por tener publicada de de Don Delillo, se trata de End Zone que aquí se ha traducido con el equívoco nombre Fin de campo; y digo que el nombre puede llevar a error por el contenido que se puede encontrar el lector:
“The ball was spotted at our 33. Dennis Smee moved along the line, s
Sep 02, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Delillo's second novel and I had to read it out of order because I couldn't find my copy. I'm actually glad I did, though, because I would have then been more disappointed than I was in Great Jones Street (see my review on this site). It would have been a major letdown after this novel. Which is nothing short of sublime.

End Zone is clearly the novel that put Delillo on the map as a great writer. If Americana revealed him to be a talented writer, this novel proves him to be a talented wri
Apr 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Siendo bastante generoso, se queda con tres estrellas. No ha funcionado conmigo y no solo por el mero hecho de que el 80% del libro verse sobre partidos de fútbol americano, entrenamientos y estrategia. Me hubiera dado igual que la alegoría sobre la Guerra Fría, término que aparece una sola vez en todo el texto, hubiera sido sobre el ajedrez, también sería válido como metáfora de la época.

Es extraño analizar el libro que a mí me hubiera gustado leer; el problema principal es la proporción dedica
This was my first DeLillo so I'm not completely sure I "got" it all, but I loved the themes he presented and the things it made me think about as I was reading. The entire middle section detailing one single football game was hard to get through as I know nothing about the sport and it really went right over my head. Despite that lengthy passage and how much Gary needs football, I didn't get the sense the book was about the sport at all. If anything, having a football team seemed like a convenie ...more
Ana Mardoll
Dec 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ana-reviewed
End Zone / 0-14-008568-8

In this incredible allegory between football, war, and destruction, "End Zone" wonderfully fleshes out the classic Delillo obsession with mass death and world devastation. His characters wear shirts with mushroom clouds festooned on the front, they brood over board games that focus around apocalypse scenarios, and they meditate in the desert on the nature of death, the meaninglessness of life, and pain of existence. The football analogy is apt and carefully exploited, but
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very funny, very intellectual, and very literary novel involving college football (at a small West Texas college), End Zone covers so much turf that it may have warded off other writers from tackling their own poignant pigskin fiction. Thankfully, Delillo's underrated humor is in an all-out blitz package here, and his novels that lack this quality (Zero K for one) suffer, partly because they come across as flighty and pretentious. Infinite Jest also comes to mind with its similarities of creat ...more
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How do you rate this book? It's 250 pages of pretentious, beautiful, clever, and funny text. It also might be the worst football story ever and good luck bonding with the characters - they are all testosterone and philosophy.

It earns three stars simply on the basis of DeLillo's writing. Grab an extra highlighter or pack of stickies, because there are lots of passages you're going to want to mark.

The fourth star comes from the clever way that he merges football and war. He explicitly denies the o
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
"It's only a game, but it's the only game."

Gary Harkness was a standout New York State high school football player living his father's dream until he squandered full scholarships at big football universities like Penn State and ended up as one of the "outcasts or exiles" on the unknown team of Logos College in the neglected West Texas desert. Gary is the team’s starting full back. Introducing himself, he says, "Football players are simple folk. Whatever complexities, whatever dark politics of th
May 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
I never would have gone so far as to even open what was ostensibly a sports novel if it hadn't been written by Don DeLillo. My initial skepticism quickly vanished as I returned to the familiar prose of one of my favorite authors from whom I've been away too long, dabbling in "the classics" and largely falling asleep to them. While End Zone is far from DeLillo's best, it ranks highly with the rest of his 70's and 80's output. If you're like me and just don't understand the appeal of sports, you m ...more
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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
More about Don DeLillo...

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“There’s a kind of theology at work here. The bombs are a kind of god. As his power grows, our fear naturally increases. I get as apprehensive as anyone else, maybe more so. We have too many bombs. They have too many bombs. There’s a kind of theology of fear that comes out of this. We begin to capitulate to the overwhelming presence. It’s so powerful. It dwarfs us so much. We say let the god have his way. He’s so much more powerful than we are. Let it happen, whatever he ordains. It used to be that the gods punished men by using the forces of nature against them or by arousing them to take up their weapons and destroy each other. Now god is the force of nature itself, the fusion of tritium and deuterium. Now he’s the weapon. So maybe this time we went too far in creating a being of omnipotent power. All this hardware. Fantastic stockpiles of hardware. The big danger is that we’ll surrender to the sense of inevitability and start flinging mud all over the planet.” 4 likes
“Fee-uck, man. This game is still on. I get that sixty-two yet. I get his ass and whip it into shape. Damnright. I get that shitpiss sixty-two and beat his black ass into the ground."
"He’s white," I said.
"I know he’s white. They’re all white. Everybody’s white. Black fucks.”
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