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For “falling” men and women are everywhere in this novel: Keith losing himself in the high-risk world of international poker tournaments, Liane reliving the declining momentum of “her” old people, our children settling into passive acceptance of the likely worse to come, Hammad obediently choosing death as an avenue to the vague promise of something better than life.

In many ways the culmination of Don DeLillo’s eloquent depictions of America in extremis, this dangerous little book is a veritable Trojan Horse: An irresistible gift, which we might have wanted to wait, before opening it, for the bomb squad to arrive. Its pages sear the reader’s hands, but few will want to stop compulsively turning them.

Bruce Allen reviews contemporary and classic fiction for several newspapers and magazines. He lives and writes in Kittery, Maine.