03 Jul / The Silence by Don DeLillo [in Booklist]
At under two hours, Don DeLillo’s latest is easily a straight-through listen. What happens during that short time proves mind-bogglingly far-reaching: a worldwide technological shutdown. Jim and Tessa are in flight from Paris to Newark, with evening plans to watch Super Bowl 2022 at Max and Diane’s Manhattan apartment along with Diane’s former student Martin. And then the plane falls out of the sky; the couple survive and somehow arrive at Max and Diane’s. Meanwhile, the large-screen TV has gone dark mid-game, phones have shut down, forcing disconcerting conversations face-to-face.
Ciphering DeLillo’s taut dystopia are a full cast of remarkable standouts. Laurie Anderson (yes, that singer/artist Laurie Anderson, who also narrated DeLillo’s The Body Artist almost 20 years ago!) is an ideal Diane, while genial Jay O. Sanders is perfectly cast as Max. Robin Miles plays Tessa with a playful charm that morphs into shocked bewilderment; Jeremy Bobb thoroughly convinces as Jim turns from affable to aghast. Michael Stuhlbarg’s Martin remains an erudite jester throughout, spouting Einstein and otherworldly theories as the world devolves. Marin Ireland as narrator is a beacon of affecting control.