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White Noise: Text and Criticism (Viking…

White Noise: Text and Criticism (Viking Critical Library)

by Don DeLillo (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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I love this novel. I read it first in High School (on my own, none of my teachers could even identify who Delillo was) and then again in Undergrad and finally again in Grad school. I'll be reading this a fourth, fifth, and probably 6th time because Delillo is amazing and this is one of my favorite novels of all time.

Plus I love that there is a band called the Airborne Toxic Event that's based on this book. And I love that Rhett Miller sings "I read it in Delillo like he'd written it to me" Love love love. ( )
  eidzior | Apr 6, 2013 |
If you are new to postmodernism, White Noise will be a novel and elucidative experience, capturing the absurdism in our current world with piercing accuracy. These ideas will, however, become repetitive, especially due to the lack of plot. ( )
  g0ldenboy | Apr 4, 2011 |
I have a love/hate relationship with post-modern literature. Largely because I'm never entirely certain if I like it or not. White Noise manages to almost transcend that for me. It's funny. It's witty. The characters are quirky, but not entirely unbelievable. And it's an almost easy to see commentary on modern life, with mentions of our dependency on television and radio. As well as the human need to out run or defeat death, no matter how inevitable it really is. Definitely a book whose popularity makes sense. It speaks to something still incredibly relevant for all of us. ( )
  Alera | Feb 18, 2010 |
I actually finished this about a week ago and I'm still not quite sure if I liked it or not. Yes, the book was funny as hell in a lot of places. DeLillo's nothing if not a master of very dark humor. But still, at the end, all I found myself wondering was "What was the point?"

White Noise doesn't seem to even have a plot until the last of three sections. Surprisingly, it was the plotless sections I enjoyed the most. They were funnier and had some fantastic one liners. The third section, honestly, I'm not quite sure about. It had a plot, but it was kind of a stupid, over the top one that didn't make sense (to me) when taking the first two sections into consideration. The end of the book I read quickly just because I wanted to be done with it, and that's the worst reason to finish a book.

I'm giving the book a three for now. It's a neutral rating. In a couple years I plan to reread this book and hopefully, I'll have a better take on the book then. ( )
1 vote RebeccaAnn | Nov 24, 2009 |
I have recently finished White Noise by Don Delillo. I was enthralled by this book; living it word by exact word. And yet, it flowed nicely. It was a comparatively easy read (as opposed to V.) that never bored me.

In spite of this book being written before the World Wide Web, which has only added to the swarm, the book's main focus is the topic of the information that we are bombarded with as we live our modern lives. From the narrator to his current wife and the children (his own and those brought in by marriage), we see the constant absorption of needless information; information that is derived from other people's panic, fears, superstition that when received is processed as matter-of-fact, almost apathetically. As it is shared it is passed along like gossip only to be argued against, mutated, and disenfranchised. This happens day-to-day within the narrator's family.

And then the Airborne Toxic Event (a very specific name for a very specific disasters whose cause and effects are very unspecific) occurs and the molestation and noise of information (founded and unfounded, though it is nearly impossible to decipher which is which) grows considerably as evacuation procedures are made. It is not exactly chaotic. Much more this is a group of people who live in a small college town who are addicted to the events seen and heard through television and radios: they have seen all the disasters of the world, thus the only new thing is that it is happening to them.

After the Airborne Toxic Event, the exploration of death takes place and is pondered on immensely by the lead character. In the end, a singular philosophy takes place: Are you the dier or the killer? (And yes, that is how "dier" is spelled in the novel.) And in spite of this singularity of thought, this "theory" of how we live as humans in this society, the narrator defeats it. He is neither dier nor killer: he just is.

I think the one aspect that I can draw from reading this is how prone we are to misinformation; and how we create our own tabloid within all that we witness and hear. ( )
3 vote bardsfingertips | Mar 3, 2009 |
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DeLillo, DonAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Osteen, MarkEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Please distinguish this ccritical edition, which includes substantial additional material, from Don DeLillo's original 1985 novel, White Noise. Thank you.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140274987, Paperback)

Winner of the National Book Award in 1985, White Noise is the story of Jack and Babette and their children from their six or so various marriages. They live in a college town where Jack is Professor of Hitler Studies (and conceals the fact that he does not speak a word of German), and Babette teaches posture and volunteers by reading from the tabloids to a group of elderly shut-ins. They are happy enough until a deadly toxic accident and Babette's addiction to an experimental drug make Jake question everything. White Noise is considered a postmodern classic and its unfolding of themes of consumerism, family and divorce, and technology as a deadly threat have attracted the attention of literary scholars since its publication. This Viking Critical Library edition, prepared by scholar Mark Osteen, is the only edition of White Noise that contains the entire text along with an extensive critical apparatus, including a critical introduction, selected essays on the author, the work and its themes, reviews, a chronology of DeLillo's life and work, a list of discussion topics, and a selected bibliography.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:53 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Jack Gladney, a professor of Nazi history at a Middle American liberal arts school, and his family try to handle normal family life as a black cloud of lethal gaseous fumes threatens their town.

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