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Brave New Underworld
Daisy Maryles, with Dick Donahue -- 10/6/97
Two weeks before its October 3 pub date, Don DeLillo's 11th novel, Underworld, returned to press three times, for an in-print figure of 115,000 copies; three subsequent printings have upped that figure to 190,000 (first printing was 80,000). The book's early success, says Scribner publicity director Pat Eisemann, can be attributed to pre-publication coverage in Vanity Fair, Vogue, GQ and the New Yorker; a piece by DeLillo in the New York Times Magazine; and "the world's most glorious reviews" in the daily New York Times and Newsweek. In yet another "glorious" notice, headlined on the front page of yesterday's NYT Book Review, Martin Amis called the book "brilliant" and its author "a great novelist." (Indeed, front-page review coverage is the Underworld order of the day -- in the San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Washington Post, etc.) No doubt it's partly due to this high-profile attention that film rights for the novel have been sold to Scott Rudin. Still to come is an eight-city author tour to top literary venues, including City Arts and Lectures in Seattle and San Francisco, the Lannan Foundation in L.A., New York's 92nd St. Y and the Folger Library in Washington, D.C. Known for his reticence in the media, DeLillo, says Eisemann, is doing a few print interviews along his tour stops, one NPR (Fresh Air), but no TV. In Eisemann's words, "It's just not Don."

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