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White Noise by Don DeLillo

White Noise (original 1985; edition 1985)

by Don DeLillo

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7,855110425 (3.78)1 / 265
Title:White Noise
Authors:Don DeLillo
Info:New York, NY : Viking, 1985.
Collections:Your library

Work details

White Noise by Don DeLillo (1985)

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    Ubik by Philip K. Dick (ateolf)
  4. 11
    Underworld by Don DeLillo (David_Cain)
    David_Cain: Everything good in White Noise is better in Underworld

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English (107)  Finnish (2)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (110)
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
This book was incredibly interesting and dynamic. It was my first Don DeLillo book, but it came with much acclaim. It is destructive and dark while still holding true to a consistent funny voice that kept the anger and despair moving forward and light enough to tolerate. ( )
  ceciliachard | Oct 19, 2016 |
White Noise is probably DeLillo's most accessible novel, if he can any way can be deemed "accessible." All the usual DeLillo themes are here, media, terrorism, violence, paranoia, consumerism, all of it delivered in sentences that take your breath away. ( )
  Elliot9 | Sep 28, 2016 |
I don't know why but I just can't get this book finished. I've tried several times, and even buckled down and tried the audiobook (which went better), but I get 20-25% of the way through and just lose interest in the characters.

I think I'll try again, but I need to give it a break. Perhaps a winter book, not a spring/summer one.

Some of the writing though, is just terrific and I can see why this is well liked.

While the younger kids come off a little too "Dawson's Creek", the older teenage son reminds me strongly of trying to have an argument with my own kids at that age, with their inexorable ability to twist logic (and reality) to their own whims. Unfortunately, he's fairly rarely seen or heard from, certainly not enough to keep me reading.
  krazykiwi | Aug 22, 2016 |
will destroy ya

good read. you really go there with him ( )
  Joseph_W_Naus | Jul 20, 2016 |
Thanks to my poor memory, and that I first read this book over a decade ago, I was able to re-read this book and yet feel like it was my first time (bonus!!). This may actually be the book which turned me into a reader. I can't say why I absent-mindedly picked it off a friend's shelf and started it back then, had had no inclination to ever do that with a book before- but it blew me away. The insights the author had about how life was just resonated with me. I found it comforting that someone else thought so much how about the little things (which are actually the big things). Anyway, I loved it then, and I loved it again this time.

Rather than talking about the plot, which to me is usually secondary to the experience of reading, I will talk about a few things that the book made me feel. It made me feel like we (as human beings in the Western world) are kidding ourselves that our consumerist lifestyles are making us happy. This book slyly and drily makes this point, I think. Jack is the man whose comments and observations bring to light a scepticism about the benefits of modern life that many are able to quell in the hubbub of our daily grind. Through his and his families experience of a "toxic airborne event" there are hints dropped about how the way our society is structured hinders our ability to be at ease within it. When reading this book I was thinking about how we are persuaded to think differently about things via advertising and bureaucratic dictates - how we are distracted and removed from basic common sense ways of handling ourselves.

And it's funny! Maybe because we all worry about life/death/stuff, and we know that we can distract ourselves from this by keeping busy and sticking to the programme. Jack ends up varying wildly from accepted forms of distraction, but in a way that seems quite rational given his thought processes. All this is very cleverly laid out and was a dream to read. ( )
1 vote Ireadthereforeiam | Jul 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
The book is so funny, so mysterious, so right, so disturbing … and yet so enjoyable it has somehow survived being cut open for twenty-five years by critics and post-grads. All of that theoretical poking and prodding, all of that po-mo-simulacra-ambiguity vivisection can’t touch the thrill of reading it
''White Noise,'' his eighth novel, is the story of a college professor and his family whose small Midwestern town is evacuated after an industrial accident. In light of the recent Union Carbide disaster in India that killed over 2,000 and injured thousands more, ''White Noise'' seems all the more timely and frightening - precisely because of its totally American concerns, its rendering of a particularly American numbness.
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The station wagons arrived at noon, a long shining line that coursed through the west campus.
"The greater the scientific advance, the more primitive the fear". Jack to Babette when talking about genetically engineered micro-organisms that would digest the 'airborne toxic event'.
"The airborne toxic event is a horrifying thing. Our fear is enormous. Even if there hasn't been great loss of life, don't we deserve some attention for our suffering, our human worry, our terror? Isn't fear news?" Television carrying man's speech when the family is stranded in Iron City.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140077022, Paperback)

Better than any book I can think of, White Noise captures the particular strangeness of life in a time where humankind has finally learned enough to kill itself. Naturally, it's a terribly funny book, and the prose is as beautiful as a sunset through a particulate-filled sky. Nice-guy narrator Jack Gladney teaches Hitler Studies at a small college. His wife may be taking a drug that removes fear, and one day a nearby chemical plant accidentally releases a cloud of gas that may be poisonous. Writing before Bhopal and Prozac entered the popular lexicon, DeLillo produced a work so closely tuned into its time that it tells the future.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:07 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

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

(summary from another edition)

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