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A brilliant satire of mass culture and the numbing effects of technology, White Noise tells the story of Jack Gladney, a teacher of Hitler studies at a liberal arts college in Middle America. Jack and his fourth wife, Babette, bound by their love, fear of death, and four ultramodern offspring, navigate the rocky passages of family life to the background babble of brand-name consumerism. Then a lethal black chemical cloud, unleashed by an industrial accident, floats over there lives, an "airborne toxic event" that is a more urgent and visible version of the white noise engulfing the Gladneys—the radio transmissions, sirens, microwaves, and TV murmurings that constitute the music of American magic and dread.
Published: Penguin Group on
ISBN: 9781440674471
List price: $11.99
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After hearing many great reviews of this novel by friends, I decided to give it a try. I can say, this book was definitely worth it. It is very satirical about the American family system and the idea of massive consumerism in the 1980s.DeLillo also touched on many personal and difficult themes that EVERY human being struggles with in life. The most profound one in this novel is the fear of death. DeLillo cuts to the core of this fear with beautiful language and situations that make it both difficult and attractive at the same time. This book is definitely worth the read for anyone interested in deep, philosophical thoughts.more
A well-crafted book that enthralled me from the opening image. White Noise, as the title implies, is a meditation on the information overload of modern life that drowns out any attempt to find meaning. The small, rural, college-town setting is a faint background in which are placed rambling, chaotic, meaningless chattering conversation between Jack, his friend and fellow professor Murray, and his wife and children, that happen amongst exaggerated tabloid-esque events, such as toxic chemical spills and secret drug trials. Most impressively, this theme of constant background noise is manifested as both a theme and a technique which is demonstrated by its unerringly accurate circular dialogue of misremembered facts and rambling free association as well as the accumulating strings of nouns, adverbs, and adjectives. In a way, I think the book falls a victim to it's success -- I feel overloaded, overwhelmed and am not sure what the the point is. A fascinating, if not fun, read.more
Re-read for the nth time. Still the Great American Novel.more
one of my most favorite books. My favorite parts include the part where he argues with his child about rain and when his wife wants hime to read her a book but without any "entering" involved.more
I am having a very difficult time trying to decide if White Noise is actually an intelligent work which I completely failed to understand. Or is it just one of those novels which try to sound all smart and deep and profound, but do not actually make much sense.

The characters are all strange, the dialogue and prose is weird. It is perhaps not rare for authors to create characters that are unsentimental, and totally incapable of having a normal conversation. But I find it difficult to appreciate such a use of artistic license if it doesn't make any point at all and serves no purpose.
On top of being obscure, the prose lacks fluidity. There are abrupt scene changes and needless interruptions of scenes. In several places, DeLillo interrupts a dialogue to throw in a bunch of brand names, unrelated to the scene, and then carries on with the dialogue again.
I think one of the things that I was very disappointed with was that DeLillo did not convincingly explain the transformation of an ordinary man (well, ordinary in DeLillio's universe) into a murderer, which is specially disappointing for a novel which revolves(or pretends to) quite a bit around human psychology.

I gave it three stars because for first 100 pages or so, Don DeLillo did succeed in making me think that he was building up to something really good. However, by the time I finished the book, I was so numbed by the absurd dialogue that I had already forgotten what it was that I had liked initially.

Few examples of meaninglessness:

"He looks like a man who finds dead bodies erotic." (This one takes the cake.)

"The point of rooms is that they are inside. No one should go into a room unless he understands this. People behave one way in rooms, another way in streets, parks and airports. To enter a room is to agree on a certain kind of behavior that takes place in rooms. This is the standard, as opposed to parking lots and beaches. It is the point of the rooms. No one should enter a room not knowing the point......" (What will I ever do without these words of wisdom!)more
This book is an acquired taste. It's more philosophical and thematic, rather than, driven by characters and plots. The structure of the book is not complicated and consists of three parts. First there is life before the toxic disaster, then the actual disaster happens, and finally life after the disaster. More importantly there are several themes and symbols in the book; television, commercialism, consumerism, plots, disasters, identity, and death. Death is actually the main theme and considering the main character is a professor of Hitler studies, this idea is hard to miss.

One idea I connected with was anticipation and fear before an event. People tend to freak out before several events throughout the book. Something as simple as a snow storm sends people into a panic. I can relate to this. When I'm told I have to work extra hours on a certain day, I dread each minute leading up to it. However, when the actual day comes it’s not so bad. It's like the anticipation is worse than the event itself. This idea really comes into play with the theme of death. Most of us don't fear death, but rather, fear the processes leading up to it.

I was also amused by the humor in the book. The humor is not shallow and contains depth such as this quote, "the family is the cradle of the world's misinformation". Considering my family, I can identify with this statement. My mother recently said she was a proud Democrat (progressive) and totally supported the Tea Party movement (conservative). So perhaps this is why I connected with the book. Like the Gladney family my family is absurd; and I even like to read about World War II and Hitler.more
This book is a choppy, fractured mess. As a lot of reviews here have said already: the plot bounces all over the place, the characters are ridiculous, and there's hardly a clear message to be found in the book (though I think the last chapter sums it all up pretty well.) But really, how else could you write a book to capture the spirit of our time? That's what I liked most about this book. It's almost 25-years old but still feels like a documentary about American culture.more
WHITE NOISE is about death. It is about family, modernism, America, love, sex, and philosophy -- but mostly it is about death. DeLillo handles the issue expertly, constructing a series of characters prone to ruminations and monologues. The most successful handling of the subject comes in the form of various conversations between Jack (the main - and perspective - character) and Murray, two academics easily engaged in philosophical speculation. The tendency towards erudition can become a bit wearying, especially when virtually every character possesses it in some form or another, from well-educated doctors to idiotic teenagers.The plot is well-crafted, with various threads of story simultaneously snapping into focus at novel's end. It is paced well and delivered poignantly through Jack's observant gaze. His pondering carries the book through some of the sludgier parts, enough so that nothing ever seems to drag.Ultimately, WHITE NOISE is a book that shouldn't be ignored. It is beautiful, contemplative, and advertent to the minutiae of the modern human experience.more
I'm giving this book 3 stars. Here is why. This was on the Guardian's list of 1000 novels to read before you die and I have to also mention that I have not read any of Delillo's other books so maybe I am not best placed to comment on this. I really liked a lot of the aspects of this novel. There were some chapters that really made me think about the nature of death, how we cope with it, relate to iit as human beings etc. The dialogue between members of the family during their random discussions is also entertaining. The plot such as it is basically has two parts to it - the main character's discovery that he may have been exposed to chemicals which could cause his death during an industrial accident, and the wife of this character and her attempts to overcome her fear of death. This is not an action novel, but a book to really make you think. The only real criticism of the book is that it ledt me feeling a bit empty - but on the other hand maybe this was the goal after all. I suffer from a fear of death myself, an at times all consuming panicky fear of the realisation of the nothingness of the afterlife. But at least I have knocled this book off the 1000 to read before I finally pass on.more
The best of his I've read by some way, the prose is fantastic, it's extremely smart and often very funny. As is normally the case with Don, I think there's more to admire here than love - the characters are, I'm sure deliberately, vessels for ideas rather than constructs that might live and breathe and give you something to care about. My interest did dip at points, but they were far rarer than in other books of his (in Underworld hundreds of pages went by indifferently for me) and the humour that ran alongside the ideas kept it going where otherwise it might have lagged. Well worth a read and certainly a re-read - although my feeling that Don is a writer to be studied rather than read remains, this is the first of his I've read that stands up to both.more
White Noise is a fantastic novel, in many regards. The poetics and form are shrewdly brilliant. I am not at peace with the density, the over-the-top sensational nature of the plot, the emotional weakness of the characters, the sacrifice of humanity to make a point. Too much cardboard, not enough flesh.Which, I can only assume, is part of the point.All in all, I see White Noise as a retelling of Lolita, with death taking the place of a girl. In that, the novel is magnificent.Underworld, however, is signficantly better.more
An interesting piece of work with moments of humour as one man struggles with his mortality.more
Possibly because I share the same paralyzing fear as the main character, possibly because I am a true postmodernist at heart, possibly because I aspire one day to be in academia at a place like College-on-the-Hill, this book spoke to me on such a deep level. I turned every page thinking, "YES this is EXACTLY how I feel too." This book inspired a complete spectrum of emotion--laughter, tears, fear, joy, etc. Delillo's prose and character development are simply stunning. I would recommend this to everybody who struggles with the knowledge of their mortality or who loves post-modernism. This is a phenomenal work.more
I can see where Chuck Palniuk gets some of his schtick now. The ending was a bit weak but there were some truly stunning passages throughout.more
Funny modernism ballardian philosophy hitler.First Delillo read after a break from fiction...this was brilliant. Currently seeking more!more
Neither as dark nor as funny as the hype had led me to believe. There's an interesting family of characters and a couple of interesting moments, but ultimately this is pretty forgettable.more
2 1/2 stars depending on my mood. I am positive it was better back when it first came out.more
Data Deluge and dull hum crowd out Meaning.At one level this seemed like an interminable plumbing of the notion of self absorption. Then again, perhaps self absorption is a form of “white noise” and as such tedious by its very nature. That being the point. Self absorption as a form of our culture’s unique blindness to larger more expansive ideas and opportunities. What with Jack and Babette Gladney’s angst about death, but on another it is quite unsettling and philosophical. Amazing in its prescient quality when one realizes it was written before the advent of the Internet and all it’s “noise” dulling forces. Somehow the constant presence of “fear of death” juxtaposed with the daily hum of the “white noise” of life. All the meaningless and unintelligible babble makes it hard to discern real meaning from the “noise”, the din of the day. But “noise” takes center stage in our daily lives and the book seems to suggest stripping it away to find the real thing. I found the notion that fear of death is derived from wanting to live and not feeling like we’ve finished our work/our contribution, hopeful. The clarity of the statement “If we could learn not be afraid, we could live forever” to somehow be the diamond in the rough of this book’s meaning. Life without fear (without “White Noise”) might give us a glimpse of immortality or at least the larger and infinite spiritual realities.Or not. You be the judge. It’s definitely worth the read.more
DeLillo is an antagonist to the prevalence of advertising provoked consumerism of today's fast paced, on-the-go member of society, who can often be seen sporting air bubble technology shoes. The shoes enable greater stamina than what your mother and father grew up in. Etc Etc.All great, except for the final closing of the book. Around 4/5 in it fell apart, for me. the writing style remained entertaining, but the dramatic story that was introduced didnt seem fitting.more
This is a postmodern novel and I have a complicated relationship with postmodern literature. On the one hand I can see what he is trying to show. He is trying to show the fragmented nature of the postmodern society and how we all put on different personalities depending on who or where we are. However on a personal note I guess I am not that postmodern in my outlook on life. I will buy that we accentuate different facets of our personalities depending on where we are and who we are with but I still think that we all have things that are fairly unique to us, aspects of our personality that will shine through no matter where we are or who we are with.White Noise deals specifically with the fear of death that is so prevalent in today’s society. Jack and his wife Babette fear death over all else. Maybe it is my warped personality but I don’t fear death. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to not wake up tomorrow, but at the same time I try to live each day to its fullest. I try to take every opportunity that comes my way because one does not know when things will end. Jack and Babette on the other hand seem to spend a lot of time worrying about death, to the point where Babette takes pills to stop worrying about it. These pills make her distant and forgetful, she is missing out on her children out of fear. To me that is rather sad.The book does discuss some interesting aspects of what reality really is and how we construct it. I especially enjoyed the the sequence that I presented in my Teaser Tuesday. If we all go do see something that is billed as unique then is it still unique.I wasn’t to fond of the way the book presents dialogue. I found it difficult to follow along who was speaking when. Many of the characters have a similar ‘voice’, this is part of the books postmodernist structure but it makes it very difficult to follow along in the conversation. I also disliked the family conversations, Jack and Babette and their children seem to talk AT each other not TO each other, or something. It just seems off. The novel did make me think, but in all honesty, had I not been assigned it for school I don’t think I would have finished it. Not because I didn’t like it but I got bored. There are large chunks of the book where very little happens. There is a lot of naval gazing and discussion of death. All in all a bit boring.more
The thing about this book is that, contrary to the published review here, it is just so wrong--it's a book in search of easy, rather snide, answers to big complex questions. The secret of this book's appeal is that it takes those hard questions--mortality, meaning, the nature of society--and makes the reader feel as if he or she has confronted them, when actually you haven't--it's just an occasion for self-congratulation and a bit of not-too-clever satire. Someone mentioned Richard Russo, who is obviously brought to mind by this book--but Russo is funnier, a keener observer of both people and institutions, and altogether more honest. One doesn't walk away from Straight Man with the false sense of superiority which, I imagine, is DeLillo's strongest appeal for twenty-somethings (at least when they first read him) who lionize him.more
One of those intellectual books. Comical, philosophical, insightful. For a while I didn't know where the book was going, but towards the end references came together nicely. It feels to me that I've missed a lot of hidden connections as I skimmed through some places, but over all I have a nice impression of the book, and will probably read it again in the future to rediscover all the intricate intentions of the author.Great for anyone who's a thinking kind of reader and who appreciates shrewd observations. There were laugh-out-loud moments that were just priceless, and that are not to be found anywhere else."Are you a killer or a dier?"more
One of those amazing reads that just brings it all together and so prescient...it's like he wrote it yesterday.more
Confession time - I don't get Don DeLillo. I had previously read "Falling Man", and didn't enjoy it much, so it was with trepidation that I picked up "White Noise". Ultimately, its inclusion on several lists of "Books You Absolutely Must Read Right This Second" tipped the balance. This was not a bad book, per se, just one that I didn't particularly enjoy. The story of some academics in a small college town and various things that happen to them, including an evacuation. The problem was I just didn't feel empathy for the characters. I blame me, rather than DeLillo - my tastes appear to be much too lowbrow for his style of writing, alas.more
Fantastic. But you already know that.more
Don't believe the hype - this book is not worth it.more
I am surprised to read other reviews and learn that this book is humorous and biting. Mostly, I found it slow and a little boring.The story centers around a mix-n-match family born of multiple marriages. Part one is kind of Richard Russo - here's a family, here's the town, and this is what it's like here. In Part 2, we're treated to an industrial accident that forces evacuation. Part 3 elaborates the aftermath as perceived by the main character (did we ever learn his name? I don't even remember). There are other issues and events, of course, and they add value to the reading, but all in all I found the substance spread thin.more
Read all 46 reviews

Reviews

After hearing many great reviews of this novel by friends, I decided to give it a try. I can say, this book was definitely worth it. It is very satirical about the American family system and the idea of massive consumerism in the 1980s.DeLillo also touched on many personal and difficult themes that EVERY human being struggles with in life. The most profound one in this novel is the fear of death. DeLillo cuts to the core of this fear with beautiful language and situations that make it both difficult and attractive at the same time. This book is definitely worth the read for anyone interested in deep, philosophical thoughts.more
A well-crafted book that enthralled me from the opening image. White Noise, as the title implies, is a meditation on the information overload of modern life that drowns out any attempt to find meaning. The small, rural, college-town setting is a faint background in which are placed rambling, chaotic, meaningless chattering conversation between Jack, his friend and fellow professor Murray, and his wife and children, that happen amongst exaggerated tabloid-esque events, such as toxic chemical spills and secret drug trials. Most impressively, this theme of constant background noise is manifested as both a theme and a technique which is demonstrated by its unerringly accurate circular dialogue of misremembered facts and rambling free association as well as the accumulating strings of nouns, adverbs, and adjectives. In a way, I think the book falls a victim to it's success -- I feel overloaded, overwhelmed and am not sure what the the point is. A fascinating, if not fun, read.more
Re-read for the nth time. Still the Great American Novel.more
one of my most favorite books. My favorite parts include the part where he argues with his child about rain and when his wife wants hime to read her a book but without any "entering" involved.more
I am having a very difficult time trying to decide if White Noise is actually an intelligent work which I completely failed to understand. Or is it just one of those novels which try to sound all smart and deep and profound, but do not actually make much sense.

The characters are all strange, the dialogue and prose is weird. It is perhaps not rare for authors to create characters that are unsentimental, and totally incapable of having a normal conversation. But I find it difficult to appreciate such a use of artistic license if it doesn't make any point at all and serves no purpose.
On top of being obscure, the prose lacks fluidity. There are abrupt scene changes and needless interruptions of scenes. In several places, DeLillo interrupts a dialogue to throw in a bunch of brand names, unrelated to the scene, and then carries on with the dialogue again.
I think one of the things that I was very disappointed with was that DeLillo did not convincingly explain the transformation of an ordinary man (well, ordinary in DeLillio's universe) into a murderer, which is specially disappointing for a novel which revolves(or pretends to) quite a bit around human psychology.

I gave it three stars because for first 100 pages or so, Don DeLillo did succeed in making me think that he was building up to something really good. However, by the time I finished the book, I was so numbed by the absurd dialogue that I had already forgotten what it was that I had liked initially.

Few examples of meaninglessness:

"He looks like a man who finds dead bodies erotic." (This one takes the cake.)

"The point of rooms is that they are inside. No one should go into a room unless he understands this. People behave one way in rooms, another way in streets, parks and airports. To enter a room is to agree on a certain kind of behavior that takes place in rooms. This is the standard, as opposed to parking lots and beaches. It is the point of the rooms. No one should enter a room not knowing the point......" (What will I ever do without these words of wisdom!)more
This book is an acquired taste. It's more philosophical and thematic, rather than, driven by characters and plots. The structure of the book is not complicated and consists of three parts. First there is life before the toxic disaster, then the actual disaster happens, and finally life after the disaster. More importantly there are several themes and symbols in the book; television, commercialism, consumerism, plots, disasters, identity, and death. Death is actually the main theme and considering the main character is a professor of Hitler studies, this idea is hard to miss.

One idea I connected with was anticipation and fear before an event. People tend to freak out before several events throughout the book. Something as simple as a snow storm sends people into a panic. I can relate to this. When I'm told I have to work extra hours on a certain day, I dread each minute leading up to it. However, when the actual day comes it’s not so bad. It's like the anticipation is worse than the event itself. This idea really comes into play with the theme of death. Most of us don't fear death, but rather, fear the processes leading up to it.

I was also amused by the humor in the book. The humor is not shallow and contains depth such as this quote, "the family is the cradle of the world's misinformation". Considering my family, I can identify with this statement. My mother recently said she was a proud Democrat (progressive) and totally supported the Tea Party movement (conservative). So perhaps this is why I connected with the book. Like the Gladney family my family is absurd; and I even like to read about World War II and Hitler.more
This book is a choppy, fractured mess. As a lot of reviews here have said already: the plot bounces all over the place, the characters are ridiculous, and there's hardly a clear message to be found in the book (though I think the last chapter sums it all up pretty well.) But really, how else could you write a book to capture the spirit of our time? That's what I liked most about this book. It's almost 25-years old but still feels like a documentary about American culture.more
WHITE NOISE is about death. It is about family, modernism, America, love, sex, and philosophy -- but mostly it is about death. DeLillo handles the issue expertly, constructing a series of characters prone to ruminations and monologues. The most successful handling of the subject comes in the form of various conversations between Jack (the main - and perspective - character) and Murray, two academics easily engaged in philosophical speculation. The tendency towards erudition can become a bit wearying, especially when virtually every character possesses it in some form or another, from well-educated doctors to idiotic teenagers.The plot is well-crafted, with various threads of story simultaneously snapping into focus at novel's end. It is paced well and delivered poignantly through Jack's observant gaze. His pondering carries the book through some of the sludgier parts, enough so that nothing ever seems to drag.Ultimately, WHITE NOISE is a book that shouldn't be ignored. It is beautiful, contemplative, and advertent to the minutiae of the modern human experience.more
I'm giving this book 3 stars. Here is why. This was on the Guardian's list of 1000 novels to read before you die and I have to also mention that I have not read any of Delillo's other books so maybe I am not best placed to comment on this. I really liked a lot of the aspects of this novel. There were some chapters that really made me think about the nature of death, how we cope with it, relate to iit as human beings etc. The dialogue between members of the family during their random discussions is also entertaining. The plot such as it is basically has two parts to it - the main character's discovery that he may have been exposed to chemicals which could cause his death during an industrial accident, and the wife of this character and her attempts to overcome her fear of death. This is not an action novel, but a book to really make you think. The only real criticism of the book is that it ledt me feeling a bit empty - but on the other hand maybe this was the goal after all. I suffer from a fear of death myself, an at times all consuming panicky fear of the realisation of the nothingness of the afterlife. But at least I have knocled this book off the 1000 to read before I finally pass on.more
The best of his I've read by some way, the prose is fantastic, it's extremely smart and often very funny. As is normally the case with Don, I think there's more to admire here than love - the characters are, I'm sure deliberately, vessels for ideas rather than constructs that might live and breathe and give you something to care about. My interest did dip at points, but they were far rarer than in other books of his (in Underworld hundreds of pages went by indifferently for me) and the humour that ran alongside the ideas kept it going where otherwise it might have lagged. Well worth a read and certainly a re-read - although my feeling that Don is a writer to be studied rather than read remains, this is the first of his I've read that stands up to both.more
White Noise is a fantastic novel, in many regards. The poetics and form are shrewdly brilliant. I am not at peace with the density, the over-the-top sensational nature of the plot, the emotional weakness of the characters, the sacrifice of humanity to make a point. Too much cardboard, not enough flesh.Which, I can only assume, is part of the point.All in all, I see White Noise as a retelling of Lolita, with death taking the place of a girl. In that, the novel is magnificent.Underworld, however, is signficantly better.more
An interesting piece of work with moments of humour as one man struggles with his mortality.more
Possibly because I share the same paralyzing fear as the main character, possibly because I am a true postmodernist at heart, possibly because I aspire one day to be in academia at a place like College-on-the-Hill, this book spoke to me on such a deep level. I turned every page thinking, "YES this is EXACTLY how I feel too." This book inspired a complete spectrum of emotion--laughter, tears, fear, joy, etc. Delillo's prose and character development are simply stunning. I would recommend this to everybody who struggles with the knowledge of their mortality or who loves post-modernism. This is a phenomenal work.more
I can see where Chuck Palniuk gets some of his schtick now. The ending was a bit weak but there were some truly stunning passages throughout.more
Funny modernism ballardian philosophy hitler.First Delillo read after a break from fiction...this was brilliant. Currently seeking more!more
Neither as dark nor as funny as the hype had led me to believe. There's an interesting family of characters and a couple of interesting moments, but ultimately this is pretty forgettable.more
2 1/2 stars depending on my mood. I am positive it was better back when it first came out.more
Data Deluge and dull hum crowd out Meaning.At one level this seemed like an interminable plumbing of the notion of self absorption. Then again, perhaps self absorption is a form of “white noise” and as such tedious by its very nature. That being the point. Self absorption as a form of our culture’s unique blindness to larger more expansive ideas and opportunities. What with Jack and Babette Gladney’s angst about death, but on another it is quite unsettling and philosophical. Amazing in its prescient quality when one realizes it was written before the advent of the Internet and all it’s “noise” dulling forces. Somehow the constant presence of “fear of death” juxtaposed with the daily hum of the “white noise” of life. All the meaningless and unintelligible babble makes it hard to discern real meaning from the “noise”, the din of the day. But “noise” takes center stage in our daily lives and the book seems to suggest stripping it away to find the real thing. I found the notion that fear of death is derived from wanting to live and not feeling like we’ve finished our work/our contribution, hopeful. The clarity of the statement “If we could learn not be afraid, we could live forever” to somehow be the diamond in the rough of this book’s meaning. Life without fear (without “White Noise”) might give us a glimpse of immortality or at least the larger and infinite spiritual realities.Or not. You be the judge. It’s definitely worth the read.more
DeLillo is an antagonist to the prevalence of advertising provoked consumerism of today's fast paced, on-the-go member of society, who can often be seen sporting air bubble technology shoes. The shoes enable greater stamina than what your mother and father grew up in. Etc Etc.All great, except for the final closing of the book. Around 4/5 in it fell apart, for me. the writing style remained entertaining, but the dramatic story that was introduced didnt seem fitting.more
This is a postmodern novel and I have a complicated relationship with postmodern literature. On the one hand I can see what he is trying to show. He is trying to show the fragmented nature of the postmodern society and how we all put on different personalities depending on who or where we are. However on a personal note I guess I am not that postmodern in my outlook on life. I will buy that we accentuate different facets of our personalities depending on where we are and who we are with but I still think that we all have things that are fairly unique to us, aspects of our personality that will shine through no matter where we are or who we are with.White Noise deals specifically with the fear of death that is so prevalent in today’s society. Jack and his wife Babette fear death over all else. Maybe it is my warped personality but I don’t fear death. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to not wake up tomorrow, but at the same time I try to live each day to its fullest. I try to take every opportunity that comes my way because one does not know when things will end. Jack and Babette on the other hand seem to spend a lot of time worrying about death, to the point where Babette takes pills to stop worrying about it. These pills make her distant and forgetful, she is missing out on her children out of fear. To me that is rather sad.The book does discuss some interesting aspects of what reality really is and how we construct it. I especially enjoyed the the sequence that I presented in my Teaser Tuesday. If we all go do see something that is billed as unique then is it still unique.I wasn’t to fond of the way the book presents dialogue. I found it difficult to follow along who was speaking when. Many of the characters have a similar ‘voice’, this is part of the books postmodernist structure but it makes it very difficult to follow along in the conversation. I also disliked the family conversations, Jack and Babette and their children seem to talk AT each other not TO each other, or something. It just seems off. The novel did make me think, but in all honesty, had I not been assigned it for school I don’t think I would have finished it. Not because I didn’t like it but I got bored. There are large chunks of the book where very little happens. There is a lot of naval gazing and discussion of death. All in all a bit boring.more
The thing about this book is that, contrary to the published review here, it is just so wrong--it's a book in search of easy, rather snide, answers to big complex questions. The secret of this book's appeal is that it takes those hard questions--mortality, meaning, the nature of society--and makes the reader feel as if he or she has confronted them, when actually you haven't--it's just an occasion for self-congratulation and a bit of not-too-clever satire. Someone mentioned Richard Russo, who is obviously brought to mind by this book--but Russo is funnier, a keener observer of both people and institutions, and altogether more honest. One doesn't walk away from Straight Man with the false sense of superiority which, I imagine, is DeLillo's strongest appeal for twenty-somethings (at least when they first read him) who lionize him.more
One of those intellectual books. Comical, philosophical, insightful. For a while I didn't know where the book was going, but towards the end references came together nicely. It feels to me that I've missed a lot of hidden connections as I skimmed through some places, but over all I have a nice impression of the book, and will probably read it again in the future to rediscover all the intricate intentions of the author.Great for anyone who's a thinking kind of reader and who appreciates shrewd observations. There were laugh-out-loud moments that were just priceless, and that are not to be found anywhere else."Are you a killer or a dier?"more
One of those amazing reads that just brings it all together and so prescient...it's like he wrote it yesterday.more
Confession time - I don't get Don DeLillo. I had previously read "Falling Man", and didn't enjoy it much, so it was with trepidation that I picked up "White Noise". Ultimately, its inclusion on several lists of "Books You Absolutely Must Read Right This Second" tipped the balance. This was not a bad book, per se, just one that I didn't particularly enjoy. The story of some academics in a small college town and various things that happen to them, including an evacuation. The problem was I just didn't feel empathy for the characters. I blame me, rather than DeLillo - my tastes appear to be much too lowbrow for his style of writing, alas.more
Fantastic. But you already know that.more
Don't believe the hype - this book is not worth it.more
I am surprised to read other reviews and learn that this book is humorous and biting. Mostly, I found it slow and a little boring.The story centers around a mix-n-match family born of multiple marriages. Part one is kind of Richard Russo - here's a family, here's the town, and this is what it's like here. In Part 2, we're treated to an industrial accident that forces evacuation. Part 3 elaborates the aftermath as perceived by the main character (did we ever learn his name? I don't even remember). There are other issues and events, of course, and they add value to the reading, but all in all I found the substance spread thin.more
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