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White Noise by Don DeLillo

White Noise (original 1985; edition 1985)

by Don DeLillo

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7,47296462 (3.79)211
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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    David_Cain: Everything good in White Noise is better in Underworld

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Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
Jack Gladney is a professor for Hitler Studies at college.He is the expert in his field and as a big conference on the topic is approaching, he finally starts to take German lessons – something that he has never successfully managed to learn. Jack lives with his fourth wife in his fifth marriage, Babette, and together they raise several children from their respective previous relationships. Both Jack and Babette are afraid of death, even before there is a rail accident in their area which leads to a toxic spill and disrupts their lives and routines.

White Noise is pretty exhausting to read. Sometimes it’s exhausting in a good way, but more often the novel is faithful to its own title too much and dwindles down to white noise itself.

Read more on my blog: http://kalafudra.com/2015/06/23/white-noise-don-delillo/ ( )
  kalafudra | Jun 23, 2015 |
A great short read, pathos city as I recall it. Nothing matters. Like John Lennon the proto post modernist (I Am The Walrus), there is just background noise all the time, meaningless information, static, white noise. Regular life has to persist against this background noise, like, an ominous hum. ( )
  ted_newell | Jun 20, 2015 |
I blazed through this in about four hours. Still haven't quite figured it out. Comfortingly different from all the other "classics" I've read, and makes me wonder about the weirdly high amount of pop culture I've consumed. Rather than go on about that, though, I leave you with this: "Californians invented the concept of life-style. This alone warrants their doom." ( )
1 vote trilliams | May 30, 2015 |
Knjiga za razmislek. Opisuje sodobno družbo, sodobno življenje, potrošniško lahkomiselnost in razglabljanje o nepomembnih minimalnih rečeh. Edina dilema smrt, nje se ne da preučiti. Zanimivo spisano, med vsakodnevne brezvezne pogovore avtor vpleta težka življenjska vprašanja. Ni je mogoče hitro brati, saj stalno odpira teme za razmislek. Všeč mi je posebej dialog med sinom in očetom o sposobnostih ljudi danes in v predzgodovinski dobi. Konca se ne spomnim. ( )
  IrisIV | May 2, 2015 |
just some jumbled thoughts, proper review later (though probably not lol)

I certainly liked the book more than my sister did. Yes, it's annoyingly postmodern and the dialogue is insufferable and often too clever for its own good. But it is weirdly prophetic; I can't believe that DeLillo wrote this in 1985. With its emphasis on fear, anxiety, and the media, it seems like a book for the post 9/11 world.

The events of the book are clearly inspired by Love Canal and the proliferation of superfund sites. Weirdly enough, the book was published a year before the events of Cherbonyl. What else? A reference to Colonel Qaddafi, mentions about how Japan seems to be especially prone to natural disasters (this was pre-1995 Kobe Earthquake and the 2011 tusnami/nuclear meltdown). Heinrich's friend is willing to risk death to make it into the Guinness World Records, and people, upon being caught in an environmental catastrophe, complain that they aren't being covered by the media --all before the age of youtube! The "white noise" in the background --TV, radio --has surely been eclipsed by the rise of the PC and internet. Can you imagine if DeLillo had written this book in 2011?

Scientists still aren't sure how continuous, background low-dose levels of radiation from things like microwaves and cell phones might affect the human body. Heinrich would make an excellent environmental risk analyst for the EPA.

Ending sucks; feels like a cheap attempt at drama.

Oh yeah, and I'm totally convinced that literary critics have the worst senses of humor ever. It's not funny --not even darkly funny. I might have smiled grimly once or twice, but honestly, critics need to get out more or something or watch Chappelle's Show or something goddamn)

overall: relevant, highly intelligent, well-written if often grating, not funny. Definitely a modern classic.

Unrelated: I would love to own a copy of the edition with the Michael Cho cover. The cartoonish art is beautifully rendered and really captures the spirit of the book (comic art! so commercial). ( )
  megantron | Jan 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 93 (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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