Ratner's Star

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Ratner's Star
Ratner's Star by Don DeLillo.
AuthorDon DeLillo
CountryUnited States
GenreScience fiction novel
PublisherAlfred A. Knopf
Publication date
June 1976
Media typePrint (hardback)
Pages438 pp (hardback first edition)

Ratner's Star is a 1976 novel by Don DeLillo. It relates the story of a child prodigy mathematician who arrives at a secret installation to work on the problem of deciphering a mysterious message that appears to come from outer space. The novel has been described as "famously impenetrable".[1]

The novel is described as Menippean satire and akin to the works of Thomas Pynchon.[2] In critical reviews, the protagonist, Billy Twillig, is compared to Vonnegut's Billy Pilgrim.[3]

The novel is told in two parts; the first is a conventional narrative, the second is less so. The author has said that the structural model was Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.[4] The novel develops the idea that science, mathematics, and logic—in parting from mysticism—do not contain the fear of death, and therefore offer no respite.


  1. ^ Taylor, Christopher (5 May 2016). "Pure Vibe". London Review of Books. p. 15.
  2. ^ "Lifetimes". archive.nytimes.com.
  3. ^ "RATNER'S STAR | Kirkus Reviews" – via www.kirkusreviews.com.
  4. ^ LeClair, Thomas; DeLillo, Don (2005). Thomas DiPietro (ed.). Conversations with Don DeLillo. University Press of Mississippi. p. 11. ISBN 1578067049.