Sunday, October 25, 2020

The Silence

The Silence by Don DeLillo
10/20/20; 128 pages

The Silence by Don DeLillo is a recommended novella about the death of technology.

On Super Bowl Sunday 2022 Max Stenner, his wife Diane Lucas who is a retired physics professor, and her former student Martin Dekker are watching the game and waiting in their Manhattan apartment for another couple, Jim Kripps and his wife, Tessa Berens, to arrive, fresh off their flight from Paris. When all the screens go blank on the flight, it becomes clear that the flight is in trouble. At the same time the grid goes down in Manhattan, rendering the Super Bowl moot. Kripps and Berens survive the crash landing and make it to the apartment through dark streets. There is a discussion about what has happened, but clearly this is a story about the final breakdown of society.

This is a very abbreviated novella with spare dialogue about the capacity of people to handle disaster when all our digital screens going blank and technology ends. Basically, The Silence will cause thoughtful readers to question their ability to survive without all their screens and constant connection to everything and everyone. The cause of this scenario is never explained, but in such a short work the idea is that should it happen, we wouldn't have information right away. There would be no way to find out what happened. We would suddenly have to connect with the people around us.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Scribner .

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