I have made an important decision: this summer’s reading will be the complete works of Don Delillo. I did it before, about seven or eight years ago, and so it is time to do it again.
I like to read the works in their written order. Unfortunately, I cannot find anywhere a copy of Delillo’s first novel, Americana. Therefore I am beginning with End Zone.
About four years ago I read David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. It is a very difficult book, but one that I enjoyed and will eventually read again. However, re-reading End Zone today, I cannot escape the feeling that the impetus for Infinite Jest may have come from a desire to emulate or better Delillo’s 1972 work. One genius challenged by another. Different styles, of course — Wallace’s algebraic prose starkly contrasted with Delillo’s more conversational touch — but the sweaty detail of the gridiron practices in End Zone are loudly reflected in the grind of tennis school in Infinite Jest, along with the ravages of modern teenagehood as shaped by the generation between them.
I am thoroughly enjoying reading in the cool of this evening.