Ross Lockhart's wealthy father has summoned him to the death of his second wife, Artis, and to witness her transformation and installation into a womb-like pod that will hold her until, at some undefined future time, she is returned to life. Artis longs for this non-death, and Ross's father does as well. They have financially and spiritually bought into this eschatology of a secular age.
Ross's father and Artis are ardent believers in this new technology, a post-death cryogenic suspension which brings disconnection to the chaotic world and the demands of the self, exchanged for a Nirvana state of bliss until future technology reawakens the living dead, mind and body restored. A resurrection. It is a faith-based technology, promising life after death. Between death and rebirth is offered a 'virgin solitude" in an idealized, rebuilt body, waiting in a womb-like pod.
Ross has an obsession with facts, details, math, and especially naming. He learns that his father assumed the last name Lockhart. And his father did lock his heart away from his son, abandoning him and his mother when Ross was a boy. When his father admits he wants to chose to undergo the process with Artis at her death, Ross talks him out of it even while Artis whispers for Ross to 'join them.'
A Convergence worker preaches that apocalypse is "inherent" in the physical world, the world will end, that humanity's insanity of war and destruction of the earth is part of a self-willed apocalypse.
What is death, what comes after, and whether death should be a choice are considered by all the characters. In a dismal and meaningless life caught in a world of technology that brings distance, can wonder still be found?
I received a free ebook though NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
DeLillo infuses the drama with metaphysical riddles: What of ourselves can actually be preserved? What will resurrection pilgrims experience in their cold limbo? With immortality reserved for the elite, what will become of the rest of humanity on our pillaged, bloodied, extinction-plagued planet? In this magnificently edge and profoundly inquisitive tale, DeLillo reflects on what we remember and forget, what we treasure and destroy, and what we fail to do for each other and for life itself. BooklistZero K
Publication May 3, 2016
$26 hard cover