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
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 .