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Don DeLillo’s new novel, ‘Zero K,’ announced

Don Delillo

Don DeLillo’s forthcoming novel, “Zero K,” will be released in May 2016. 

(Joyce Ravid / Scribner )

This week, Don DeLillo will accept the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters -- its lifetime achievement award -- at the National Book Awards. But that doesn’t mean the author has stopped writing.

On Monday, Scribner announced that DeLillo’s next novel, “Zero K,” will be published in May 2016.

DeLillo, 79, is best known as the author of the National Book Award-winning “White Noise,” a novel that critiques consumerism and academia and features an airborne toxic event, and “Underworld,” a massive novel of America in the 20th century.

His novels have tackled a broad range of subjects, including 9/11 (“Falling Man”), rock stardom (“Great Jones Street”), football (“End Zone”), science fiction (“Ratner’s Star”), linguistics (“The Names”) and the assassination of JFK (“Libra”).

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In “Zero K,” the subject is the pursuit of eternal life, or at least cheating death. Publisher Scribner writes:

“ ‘Zero K’ follows billionaire Ross Lockhart whose younger wife, Artis Martineau, has a terminal illness. Ross is a significant investor in a secretive, remote compound where death is controlled and bodies are preserved until medical advances can restore individuals to improved lives. Lockhart hopes Artis can benefit from this pioneering science. ‘We are born without choosing to be. Should we have to die in the same manner? Isn’t it a human glory to refuse to accept a certain fate?’ Told from the perspective of Ross’s son Jeffrey Lockhart, ‘Zero K’ weighs the devastations of our time against ‘the mingled astonishments of our lives, here, on earth.’ ”

“Zero K” will be published in May 2016.

Book news and more; I’m @paperhaus on Twitter

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