Men Who Work Underground

MAO II by Don DeLillo; Viking; 241 pages; $19.95

What do authors and terrorists have in common? That is one of the many questions raised in this novel, Don DeLillo's 10th, and it seems a snap to answer without even reading the book. Authors and terrorists have nothing -- zip, zero -- in common. One class creates, the other destroys; one competes in the marketplace for attention, the other commands it at gunpoint. Case closed. Those who are satisfied with such commonsense certainties, though, should probably halt their progress through Mao II, which bristles with unsettled and unsettling impressions: "Years ago...

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