DeLillo’s “Underworld”

I’m in the process of reading Don DeLillo’s book Underworld. The book, like everything he writes is fascinating and really breaks up the linear process of most fiction story-telling. Outside of all that though I find the simple way in which he makes obscure and foul things seem artful and well-written almost magical.

For instance, in this book he is discussing the way in which one of the characters, Marvin to be exact, experienced worsening bowel movements during his honeymoon through Eastern Europe. DeLillo writes:

The smell that surrounded him was infused with what, with geopolitics, and he waved a towel for five minutes and propped open the window, it kept closing, with a rolled-up copy of Pravda, he was still looking for baseball scores, and then he went and stood in their room and watched Eleanor sleep–she came from a gentle rural place and could easily perish from his reek.

Any author who is able to tie the geopolitics of the Cold War and Eastern Europe into a baseball fan’s worsening bowel movements while traveling through the country is a master in my mind. I don’t know why he does it this way or how it appears (to me at least) to be so well done, but it is and I love it.