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From Barnes & NobleOne was a book that everyone was reading: Don DeLillo's Underworld. I'd read the first chapter, then titled "Pafko at the Wall," when it was published in Harper's in 1993 and presumed that it was a self-contained novella (a brilliant one, the best fiction about baseball ever written and, I'm happy to admit, a piece that taught me all kinds of stuff that I was able to use in my own novel, The Veracruz Blues). When I heard that DeLillo had subsumed this masterpiece into a much longer novel, I could barely wait for its publication. The Friday the book came out, I stood outside the door of my local bookstore while a clerk opened the just-delivered boxes. I went home that weekend and read the book greedily, awestruck, afraid, and stunned by DeLillo's paranoid wonderland of material and technique. Underworld is that rare, big, advertised-as-good-for-you novel that makes good on its promises. Even better, I had the pleasure of being the first kid on my block to have read it, which I have spent the last few weeks lording over the many friends of mine who are now in the middle of the thing (I should not be proud of this, I know; sue me).