Jeffrey travels across the ocean from the USA to some place somewhere south of Russia in one of the small ex-Soviet countries. He is to visit a secret place where his father Ross and his second wife Artis are waiting for him. Artis is fatally ill and thus they have decided not to have nature her say and decide on life and death but to take it in their own hands. Their bodies will be preserved until a future time, when wars are over and when medicine is able to treat their illness. In a new dimension they hope to be reborn to a better life and world.
Again Don DeLillo chooses a topic which goes deep under your skin. In a science-fictional setting – preserving bodies to revive them at later point in time is not yet possible, albeit a dream of many – he not only raises ethical questions about what scientists should be allowed to do and where from a human point of view we should draw a line not to be crossed. He also asks the question when a life is worth living and if we should have the right to decide over death and put an end to it if it does not seem worth living anymore. Last but not least, the philosophical issue about the human being in constant struggle of mind vs body becomes evident when the body is preserved in the hope that the mind does not suffer from the procedure.
Although many controversial topics which give you masses of food for thought are raised, the novel easily floats on and on and you keep on reading. One reason are definitely the protagonists and their thoughts, another is unquestionably DeLillo’s masterly way of using language to tell an interesting and captivating story.