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White Noise by Don DeLillo

White Noise (original 1985; edition 1985)

by Don DeLillo

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7,094None502 (3.79)197
Title:White Noise
Authors:Don DeLillo
Info:New York, NY : Viking, 1985.
Collections:Your library

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White Noise by Don DeLillo (1985)

1001 (40) 1001 books (33) 1980s (22) 20th century (112) academia (67) America (26) American (159) American fiction (38) American literature (139) consumerism (43) contemporary (31) contemporary fiction (34) death (82) DeLillo (42) family (42) fiction (996) Hitler (22) humor (25) literary fiction (22) literature (104) National Book Award (56) novel (230) own (40) postmodern (140) postmodernism (96) read (108) satire (62) to-read (97) unread (39) USA (49)
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    Ubik by Philip K. Dick (ateolf)
  4. 01
    Underworld by Don DeLillo (David_Cain)
    David_Cain: Everything good in White Noise is better in Underworld

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English (83)  Finnish (2)  All languages (85)
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
3.5 ( )
  Jphotic | Mar 31, 2014 |
This is a great book, but it took me three tries over five years to finally read it all the way through. It's immensely quotable, fascinatingly post-modern and bordering on surreal because it is so heightened and odd. I would highly recommend it, and I'd love to see it as a movie some day. I imagine that most other people who pick it up for fun are more likely to actually read it all the way through on the first go... ( )
  unsquare | Feb 6, 2014 |
Some good writing, but I felt like this book was more concerned with its ideas than with plot or characters. Why not just write an essay? Also didn't care for the smugness and parody. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 4, 2014 |
I read "White Noise" by Don DeLillo for my book group. I tried to read "Underworld", around the time it came out, and chose to abandon it. I know five other readers who had the same experience with "Underworld". I was therefore relieved to discover that "White Noise" is a more accessible, amusing and readable book. That said, there isn't much of a plot and most of the book details numerous inconsequential, every day occurrences and conversations.

There's much to enjoy, however my initial relief gave way to slight boredom with the meandering nature of the book. The book's characters are an interesting bunch that all centre around an extended small town family. As the "story" unfolds several themes emerge - death and mortality, consumerism, technology, and authenticity - which are playfully explored. It is only in final third of the book there is any semblance of a conventional plot and the death theme, that runs throughout the book, becomes more explicit.

Recommended if you enjoy clever and digressive satirical novels with various levels of meaning to ponder.

3/5 ( )
  nigeyb | Jan 20, 2014 |
It's a comic novel, a satire. Lighten up, people! Delillo nails many of the strange ways we create our self image, the knots we tie ourselves into because of our fear of death, the absurdities of academia, and the oddities in the relationships between men and women, parents and children. And a lot more.

A comic gem: the end of chapter 33, when Babette's creaky old father, before he drives away, tells her for the last time not to worry about him:
"Don't worry about me", he said. "The little limp means nothing. People my age limp. A limp is a natural thing at a certain age. Forget the cough. It's healthy to cough. You move the stuff around. The stuff can't harm you as long as it doesn't settle in one spot and stay there for years. So the cough's all right. So is the insomnia. What do I gain by sleeping?..." and on through sex, cigarettes, money, teeth, the shakes, sudden weight loss, his eyes, and his mind. ( )
  wrk1 | Jan 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 83 (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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:15 -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)

» see all 5 descriptions

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