Don DeLillo's second novel, a sort of Dr. Strangelove
meets North Dallas Forty
, solidified his place in the American literary landscape in the early 1970s. The story of an angst-ridden, war-obsessed running back for Logos College in West Texas, End Zone
is a heady and hilarious conflation of Cold War existentialism and the parodied parallelism of battlefield/sports rhetoric. When not arguing nuclear endgame strategy with his professor, Major Staley, narrator Gary Harkness joins a brilliant and unlikely bunch of overmuscled gladiators on the field and in the dormitory. In characteristic fashion, DeLillo deliberately undermines the football-is-combat cliché by having one of his characters explain: "I reject the notion of football as warfare. Warfare is warfare. We don't need substitutes because we've got the real thing." What remains is an insightful examination of language in an alien, postmodern world, where a football player's ultimate triumph is his need to play the game.
About the Author
published his first short story when he was twenty-three years old. He has since written twelve novels, including White Noise
(1985) which won the National Book Award. It was followed by Libra
(1988), his novel about the assassination of President Kennedy, and by Mao II
, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.
In 1997, he published the bestselling Underworld, and in 1999 he was awarded the Jerusalem Prize, given to a writer whose work expresses the theme of the freedom of the individual in society; he was the first American author to receive it. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.