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اثر دان دلیلو از انتشارات چترنگ - مترجم: سهیل سمی-ادبیات آمریکا

داستان هنگامی آغاز می‌شود که همسر جوان راس لاکهارت، ميلياردر شصت‌ ساله، بيمار شده است و خانواده‌ی لاکهارت دچار بحرانی جدی می‌شود. راس از مدت‌ها پيش در مجموعه‌ای مخفی که به نحوی به مقابله با مرگ می‌پردازد، سرمايه‌گذاری کرده است. آن‌ها بدن‌های بيمار را تا زمانی که علم به درجه‌ای برسد که بتواند او را به زندگی برگرداند منجمد می‌کنند. بيماری آرتيس بهانه‌ای می‌شود تا اين خانواده قدم در اين راه بگذارد و در مقابل جبر مرگ بايستد. جديدترين اثر دان دُليلو، نويسنده‌ی مطرح برفک، تاريکی‌های جهان ـ تروريسم، سيل‌ها،آتش‌سوزی‌ها، قحطی و طاعون ـ را در مقابل زيبايی و انسانيت در زندگی روزمره، عشق و نوازش صميمی زمين و خورشيد قرار می‌دهد؛


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This started out feeling really creepy to me and I wasnt enjoying it. Now that Ive finished reading it, Im 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 technology, the assassination of a president, 9/11. I continued because I knew there would probably be something provocative, something profound, and there was . But I had a hard time connecting with the characters until close to the end .

Jeffrey Lockhart, from whose perspective the story is told goes on a long journey at the request of his father Ross , to a place called The Convergence. Its an eerily stark place but yet the halls are lined with various pastel blue painted doors and another with mud colored doors and and naked mannequins in various places. This is where his fathers wife, Artis will commit herself to death and seek a cryogenic solution to a time when her health can be restored by future medical discoveries . Theress a cult like aura to this place and Jeffrey, while curious and trying desperately to understand it all, is repulsed by it all - especially at his fathers suggestion that although a healthy man in his sixties, he is considering the same fate for himself to be together with his wife .

Jeffrey roams the halls and screens appear with horrifying visuals of natural disasters, floods , fires , tornadoes and monks setting themselves on fire, acts of terrorism. While it is blatantly obvious that DeLillo wants us to take note of these things happening in the world at large , I was also impacted by what happened in Jeffreys life. Abandoned at 13 by his billionaire father, obsessed with naming people and things, I felt no emotional connection to Jeffrey . That changed for me when he returns from The Convergence and we see his relationship with a woman , named Emma and her son. It is this relationship that brings the broader happenings in the world down to the personal level.

I was not sure how to rate this book . My first inclination is to give it 3 stars - meaning I liked it , didnt love it because I really didnt enjoy reading a lot of it . In the end , I have to move it up 4 stars after considering what DeLillo portrays here about death and life , and and even though horrifying, I wont forget the minute I connected emotionally to Jeffrey Lockhart.


Thanks to Scribner , NetGalley and Edelweiss.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
@Id never felt more human than I did when my mother lay in bed, dying.@

@description@

@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 DeLillos 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 measured writing, or their erratic narration, but DeLillo was something else. His prose is poetic, weird, haunting, searing. Images grow and then dematerialize. He hints at the future, creates a fabric of tension, and pulls back. Each of his books seems to push towards a vision of our end. He looks at the refuse of civilization, the excesses of capitalism, @the end zone of ancient time@. He is a dark worm, pushing through the dirt and the grime and the dark caverns created by our existential rot.

He is obsesses over words, descriptions, names. He is a prose prophet for a technological age. He doesnt always hit it out of the park (dare I call those Pafkos?). Many of his more recent books: Cosmopolis, Point Omega, The Body Artist didnt seem to live up to the expectations created by Mao II, White Noise, Libra, Underworld. His five novels from the Names (1982) to Underworld (1997) seems only equaled by Philip Roths series of five novels from Operation Shylock: A Confession (1993) to The Human Stain (2000).

The last couple books DeLillo delivered seemed to be experimentations, theories, unfinished paintings that hint at the ground DeLillo loves (technology, paranoia, death, history, humanity, religion). With this novel, DeLillo seems to have perhaps not jumped up to his highest shelf. (See MII, WN, L, U), but close. This is a book that belongs next to Falling Man, End Zone, Americana*, the Names*.

@description@

I dont want to give too much of the book away, but as I read this unsettling novel, I kept on thinking of modern-day technology pharaohs. My brother and I were having a conversation the other day about how the life of a millionaire and a billionaire isnt that different. There is just so many things you can literally buy. Even when they are buying expensive shirts and pants the styles and cuts for those worth $100M and those worth $100B arent going to be THAT different. Yes, the billionaire might own an Island instead of just a home, but ultimately, the billionaire cant live in more than one home at a time. The millionaire might be able to buy $4000 pants when you and I can only, rationally, expect to buy pants in the $40 - $140 range. However, the Billionaire isnt able to just add a couple zeros to the millionaires pants. There is no market for $40,000 pants. So, the average $B$ lives about like the average $M$, except in a couple small ways.

Death, or the desire to escape death, may be one of those places where only those with significant, GDP-sized capital, can tread. Thus those with wealth that involves 9+zeros become the modern-day pharaohs of death. They are the only ones with the capacity to fight against the dying of the light with money, medicine, and technology. Money absolutely has become their god, and perhaps in 10, 15, or 20 years their GOD might actually deliver them from death. Instead of pyramids of stone, we might see pyramids of stainless steel and ice. Frozen mummies surrounded by bytes instead of jewelry and gold, these modern-day pharaohs may one-day-soon be waited on by high-priests with PhDs in computers science; the ceremonies and rituals of religion will be replaced with a transhumanist incantations and rites.

But when our modern-day pharaohs side-step death, what does that exactly mean as far as life? That is the territory of DeLillo. Listen to his prose prayers, and prepare yourself for salvation, death, and perhaps even eternal life.

* Im going here by reputation not experience since I have yet to read these two.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
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 mans 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, its just a mess.

The story is slow, plodding, and seemingly pointless--and it goes in directions that work against the narrative rather than for it. It sets itself up as asking @important@ philosophical questions. But the questions dont seem that important--and neither do the answers. According to the description this book is setting the horrors of the world (terrorism, fires, conflict) against the beauty of life, but I didnt see that. I must have missed the beauty amid the estranged and distant father, the weird compound where this procedure takes place, and the way the book tries desperately to get me to believe the narrator and his step-mother are reconciling, but thats just not convincing.

The writing is good. @[This] is the song-and-dance version of what happens to self-made men. They unmake themselves.@ Thats GOOD. Unfortunately, Zero K is like a beautiful pool of water, but one thats so shallow it cant support any life.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
This isnt the first time Im trying DeLillo, but I dont know if Id go back to him after this. Yes, empirically I understand, this is the sort of book that wins awards, its dealing with heavy subjects (mortality, meaning of life, etc.), its written in that specific language of structured beauty, it is the very edifice of eligibility for the famous lists and shelves, but...it is absolutely unenjoyable to read, profoundly unengaging, thoroughly unentertaining. The concept is interesting initially, but it gets buried under the ineffectual, somewhat repetitive in composition and sentiment ramblings, the characters utterly fail to compel or rouse basic interest. The book deals with alienation, but it didnt have to be alienating. Well written stylistically, but soulless, with about as much warmth and life to it as its subject of preservation. And, to stretch the pun, polarizing most likely, since I can absolutely envision readers to be as enamored by it as I wasnt. The best thing about it was its brevity, only a few hours and one turn of phrase, which I really liked and seem to have promptly forgotten. Thanks Netgalley.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
[Originally appeared here (with edits): http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/li...]

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 ailing wife, Artis, at an isolated compound, in a remotest corner of Russia. But the compound isn’t any ordinary brick and mortar structure; it is a highly advanced, scientifically augmented laboratory where living men and women surrender their bodies to be preserved in cryogenic pods and whereupon, a series of radical and cutting-edge innovative methods are applied to them with an objective to bring them to life in much more robust, transcendent and resilient human forms. The amount of time this transformation might take? No one quite tells me that. Jeffrey, after seeing Artis slip into the other world, returns to his daily humdrum at New York and continues living a normal life, albeit with occasional flashes from his Russian detour, until one day, it is Ross’ turn to embrace the pod and he is summoned again. The amount of time that has lapsed between the two trips? Two years.

As a premise, this book held promise. The composition of the controlled environment within which passionate, eclectic ideas collided and thrived was deftly done. While I ain’t sure how DeLillo goes about his novels since this was my first of his’, I found traces of diligent ground work here that added to a certain veracity of such an experiment. I also found a veritable sincerity in the painstakingly long and patient narrative barrels deployed by him to connect to those, uninitiated in the scientific realms. But as most of these explanations happened as long conversations or pep talks to the lab inhabitants, it quickly turned tedious and tryingly commonplace. This excess ended up robbing off the empathy that I might have showered on Artis, Ross or Jeffrey for their sacrifices, separation and longing to reunite, which runs as a key theme underneath the more visible props.

I found it interesting to view the work as an approach to securing love. Ross’ firm assertion of investing in the biomedical experiment as a means to extend his time with Artis (beyond her mortal body) is in stark contrast to Jeffrey’s detached yet sincere stand towards Emma. While Ross believes in the permanence of a physical form (and a feral reluctance to renounce it) as essentials to the perpetuation of a love story, Jeffrey, as easily, embraces emotional intimacy as the chief criterion to achieve the same objective. Who is to say whose love holds the most resplendent flames?

This book, in subtle undertones, asked questions on life, love and death and the extent to which we are willing to travel to find their answers. But perhaps, the binding rigmarole of present day impaled the lofty enterprise of future halo.


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