Ostensibly, Don DeLillo's blackly comic second novel, End Zone, is about Gary Harkness, a football player and student at Logos College, west Texas.
During a season of unprecedented success, Gary becomes increasingly fixated on the threat of nuclear war. Both frightened and fascinated by the prospect, he listens to his team-mates discussing match tactics in much the same terms as generals might contemplate global conflict. But as the terminologies of football and nuclear war – the language of end zones – become interchanged, the polysemous nature of words emerges, and DeLillo forces us to see beyond the sterile reality of substitution.
This clever and playful novel is a timeless and topical study of human beings' obsession with conflict and confrontation.