"Sine Cosine Tangent"
by Don DeLillo
Originally published in the February 22, 2016 issue of The New Yorker.
Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage.

February 22, 2016Don DeLillo’s new novel, Zero K., comes out in May. “Sine Cosine Tangent” is an excerpt that, according to the interview with Deborah Treisman (here), “looks at the teen-age son of divorced parents and his struggle to understand his own identity in light of theirs.”

I admire DeLillo more than like him, and I’m not a fan of these novel previews. However, I’m excited to see what’s on offer and what you all think of the segment. Does it make you look forward to the new DeLillo? Or is this enough?

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By |2016-08-04T22:44:56-04:00February 15th, 2016|Categories: Don DeLillo, New Yorker Fiction|Tags: |7 Comments


  1. Lee Monks February 15, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    I think I’ll always look forward to anything by DeLillo, despite the fact that I know at some stage I’ll inevitably feel like I’ve been somewhat hectored by a cultural philosopher. He’s writing essays and shoehorning them into fiction via mouthpiece variants of himself. But I still eagerly await anything new! It’s just great reading those sentences.

  2. David W. February 18, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    I wish that it were announced as an excerpt, because I don’t think it works that well if you expect it to be “a story.” I felt the same way as Don here (http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/fiction-this-week-don-delillo-2016-02-22):

    Treisman: “Sine Cosine Tangent” is drawn from your forthcoming novel, “Zero K,” most of which involves Jeff as an adult. Is it disorienting for you to see his childhood isolated from the rest of the book in this way?”

    DeLillo: “Yes, it is strange to see these passages huddled together, isolated from the larger context in which they were designed to be read. Makes me feel that I’ve fallen into a hole in the ground. What happened to the sky, the light, the landscape?”

  3. Ken February 19, 2016 at 4:40 am

    I thought this worked better than most excerpts from novels, even if it only represents a small shard of the overall narrative. As a story about how we try to fix the details of existence through noticing small moments, pondering words and definitions, it’s eloquent and thoughtful and as a stylist, no one touches DeLillo. I would argue he is the most significant author in America today.

  4. Joe February 25, 2016 at 12:29 am

    Jeebus effin exmas. How on earth has it been decided that it is acceptable to do a Readers’s Digest number on a piece yet again and call it a short story? A short story is written and designed as such and this piece was cobbled together by a bunch of editors who wanted to compress hundreds of pages into a handful. It is not even truly an “excerpt” — that would be a single continuous chunk pulled out of the book. And even thought that would still have sucked balls, it would have been better than this terrible awfulness. But regardless they should label this ludicrous practice they have (read: veiled advertising for the novel) as what it is and not let the reader assume it’s a short story. It does no justice to a writer with DeLillo’s chops or TNY’s rep.

    It was clear to any non-comatose reader by page two that this was a whole three-piece suit that was cut up and made into a quilted pocket square.

    Good lord. I have read no less than a half dozen stellar standalone stories in litmags over the last month that could well have earned a place in TNY. What crapola peddler is lurking their hallowed halls now and just dumping these garbage fictiony pizza slices on us?

  5. Lee Monks February 25, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Trevor: can you possibly insert a button onto these pages so I can ‘like’ Joe’s comment? :-)

  6. Greg February 25, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    I agree Lee – Joe’s comment is perfect. The New Yorker has to make serious changes to regain our respect.

    Also, Ken, you have chosen DeLillo as the most significant American author today….hmm….I definitely understand your pick…….but I would say Jonathan Franzen…..not just because of his writing, but also how he ‘fights the good fight’ for Literature.

  7. Dan March 1, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Joe has definitely hit on the head a nail I have been hammering at weakly for years. Huzzah!

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