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"For some time now, I've had the feeling that novelists and terrorists are playing a zero-sum game. Beckett is the last writer to shape the way we think and see. After him, the major work involves midair explosions and crumbled buildings. This is the new tragic narrative." In Don DeLillo's novel Mao II, reclusive novelist Bill Gray gets the chance to play out his hypothesis when a terrorist group takes a writer hostage in Beirut--and then proposes a strange and dangerous trade. Some tickets still remain for Jody McAuliffe's multimedia stage adaptation of the novel, presented by Duke Theater Previews, April 17-21 in Sheafer Theater. The workshop production features digital video by William Nolan and an original soundscape by Scott Lindroth. Don DeLillo himself will appear as a part of Duke's Blackburn Literary Festival, April 18 at 7 p.m. Its organizers must believe that only 75 people will show up for the rare public reading and book signing by this noted author: That's the capacity of the Rare Book Room in Perkins Library. Hope the fire marshal doesn't happen to mosey by. Call for 684-4444 for details. --Byron Woods

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