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White Noise (1985)

by Don DeLillo

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10,756167615 (3.78)1 / 355
Classic Literature. Fiction. Literature. HTML:Now a Netflix film!
Winner of the National Book Award, White Noise tells the story of Jack Gladney, his fourth wife, Babette, and four ultra¬≠modern offspring as they navigate the rocky passages of family life to the background babble of brand-name consumerism. When an industrial accident unleashes an "airborne toxic event," a lethal black chemical cloud floats over their lives. The menacing cloud is a more urgent and visible version of the "white noise" engulfing the Gladneys‚??radio transmissions, sirens, microwaves, ultrasonic appliances, and TV murmurings‚??pulsing with life, yet suggesting something… (more)
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    David_Cain: Everything good in White Noise is better in Underworld
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» See also 355 mentions

English (162)  Finnish (2)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (167)
Showing 1-5 of 162 (next | show all)
ya know, I had to read this book for class. At first, I thought it was deep and meaningful. I really liked the writing, I thought it was edgy, and it had something surreal and kind of post-modern about it that I thought was really unique. And then, at about page 165, I realized that the book was so meaningful and deep, that it actually just circled back to being stupid. It is a unique read, yes, but there are plenty of other books that have done something similar and better. I know I'd been feeling like the book was ridiculous for a while, and then I got to the line that more or less said, "Is a person dead if they drown?" and I was done with it at that point. Like there is only so much pondering the meaning of death a person can do before its just stupid. Although, maybe that was the point all along. I do not recommend reading this book, and I have a weird feeling my professor was just screwing with my class by assigning it. ( )
  annahuber13 | Nov 4, 2023 |
"I am the false character who follows the name around"

Enter, Me.

Don DeLillo can-write-himself-out-of-a-paper-bag-but-doesn't-always-choose-to-do-so. (Though, in contrast with the aphorism, it is actually quite difficult to write oneself out of a paper bag (complicated to defeat topology with a pen, perhaps by pressing very hard (writing close))) So perhaps frankly impressive that an author who has essentially no "ideas (about architecture careers)," has almost managed to get out. Initially almost very funny (while on the campus) and subsequently very stupid (when off the campus). (There are many who are like this.)

Already in Adorno we are occasionally commenting on a "Hitler Studies" in its so-called "coma-dépasse." (The post-war fervor for Hitler biography will never have an equal. (Not even Hannah Arendt's excellent Eichmann in Jerusalem is about a person, despite a persistent misquoting on the so-called "banality of evil.")) Though, as evident in Adorno's reactionary invective against vegetarianism ('what about the people?'), we perceive that the spectre of "Hitler Studies" is not yet brain-dead (perhaps this is the "spectre haunting [academia]"). Not as much can be said for "DeLillo Studies," whose swipes at philosophy don't quite rise to the level of brainstem reflexes. Who comprises the audience that that can still be enriched by notions of "the most photographed barn in America" and "is it really raining?" ( )
  Joe.Olipo | Sep 19, 2023 |
A very good book. The 1980s were half over when DeLillo released this book, and yet he somehow distilled both the past and the future into the present.

In much the same way, On The Road captured the emerging youth culture and its unfettered access to the super-powered United States, White Noise captures the transformation of a country into rampant consumerism and academic navel-gazing.

Although the middle section of the novel focuses on the paranoia surrounding AIDS, it also presciently parodies our obsession with data and analytics. Much as data, statistics, and analytics drive much of our present lives it was seen as the all-seeing eye in DeLillo's universe. Poked and prodded by medical devices, Jack Gladney's doctors extract countless data from his body and are left with no better answer than humans have been cursed with knowing since the emergence of intelligence. We're all gonna die...eventually. ( )
1 vote Alexander_McEvoy | Aug 23, 2023 |
In the beginning I thought the story had material to develop into a critique of consumerism - and somehow I maintained that hope for a long time before I realized the story was focussing only on the individuals and their problems. Unfortunately neither the way the story was told nor the characters were fascinating and I found the book utterly dull and forgettable. In the end I was thinking what a boring movie this must make and how come someone ever came up with the idea of making one out of this. ( )
  Lady_Lazarus | Jul 24, 2023 |
This book has layers. Reminds me of The Stranger at times. Very entertaining dialogue. ( )
  markm2315 | Jul 1, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 162 (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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Dedication
To Sue Buck and to Lois Wallace
First words
The station wagons arrived at noon, a long shining line that coursed through the west campus.
Quotations
"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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Classic Literature. Fiction. Literature. HTML:Now a Netflix film!
Winner of the National Book Award, White Noise tells the story of Jack Gladney, his fourth wife, Babette, and four ultra¬≠modern offspring as they navigate the rocky passages of family life to the background babble of brand-name consumerism. When an industrial accident unleashes an "airborne toxic event," a lethal black chemical cloud floats over their lives. The menacing cloud is a more urgent and visible version of the "white noise" engulfing the Gladneys‚??radio transmissions, sirens, microwaves, ultrasonic appliances, and TV murmurings‚??pulsing with life, yet suggesting something

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