Berube on DeLillo

Michael Berube posted a long-ish teaser of his new essay on Don DeLillo, appearing in Tim Engles and John Duvall’s Approaches to Teaching DeLillo’s White Noise.

Juxtaposing the narratives of baseball and of the Cold War, then, Underworld insists on the importance of motive: like Thomas Pynchon (to whom he is often compared in this respect), DeLillo makes much of the multivalence of the term “plot,? spinning paranoid tales around the word’s more sinister connotations, ranging from “diabolical scheme? to “area of cemetery land.? But what’s striking about Underworld is that unlike postmodern paranoid fictions in which all plotting is sinister and probably related somehow to your eventual demise, this novel shows us time and again how trying it is, outside of the world of sports, to live in a story without a plot, a narrative without a motive.

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