Don DeLillo has long occupied a spot on a short list of acclaimed fiction authors who I've struggled to crack. Each time I abandoned one of his novels, I vowed to return, knowing sooner or later my efforts would pay off. Authors don't get to be as highly regarded as DeLillo for no reason.
If DeLillo's work has challenged you as it has me (and you're as stubborn as I), The Silence (2020) could be - as it turned out to be for me - your gateway to a modern-day master. The premise is straightforward - five people try to cope with a technological apocalypse - the prose is lean, the insights powerful. This time, at under one hundred fifty pages and with a small cast, the density of DeLillo's vision didn't overwhelm me as happened with several of his earlier novels I'd started. If you end up reading The Silence, I'd enjoy hearing about your experience, especially if DeLillo hasn't been easy for you.
BTW, the short list referred to in the first paragraph also includes William Faulkner, David Foster Wallace, and Thomas Pynchon. Except for Old Man - shorter than The Silence - I've yet to finish another Faulkner novel. And though I have greedily devoured all of Wallace's non-fiction, I've given up on Infinite Jest at least three times. Me & Thomas Pynchon's lauded fiction? That's a blog post all by itself. But, the good news comes last: Not giving up on DeLillo brought The Silence to me. That means there may be more DeLillo & Faulkner in my future and perhaps I'll crack Infinite Jest the next time. Pynchon? Stay tuned on that.