Very well written metaphorical exposition on our obsession with death and trying to escape it. Black humor with meaining.
Original, thought-provoking and meticulously worded for maximum effect at all times. A must-read for fans of Chuck Palahniuk and Douglas Coupland, both of whom seem to have been influenced by DeLillo's examinations of the effect of consumerism and technology on the individual in modern society.
This novel is supposed to be an edgy postmodern commentary on materialism, intellectualism, death, perception v reality, etc. However, these ideas were more radical in the 60s. This book was written in the 80s which means DeLillo was at least 20 years behind the curve in his own time and that it was done better by others.
Besides the anti-climactic ending, I enjoyed most of the book even when the dialogue became repetitive and preachy. All of the characters had an annoying habit of answering a question with a question and never actually answered anything. It quickly became obnoxious and made the "controversy" feel forced. Here is a typical exchange:
First character asks, "Is it raining right now?"
Second character answers, "What is rain? Perhaps you perceive rain differently than I do. And when is 'now'? 'Now' at this moment or 'now' when you asked me a few seconds ago? Time is an illusion."
I could have done without reading this one. Perhaps DeLillo does a better job in one of his other works.
Truly insightful book on modern day life. Gave me the chills
This is an interesting look at modern, present day life in the US.
Interesting - seems to hit home just how pointless and weird our lives are. Enjoyable to read.
I loved the first half of this book. The second half...not so much. The first half was an amazing literary analysis of the perils and themes of contemporary American life. I thought from this, that I loved postmodern literature and found a great genre from which to analyze and ruminate over the problems within modern Western society. Which, I think there was, especially in Part I. Part II was interesting for its simple humor and storyline, and definitely the implicit metaphors and motifs of the "toxic event."
Part III was my least favorite part, and why this book didn't get 5 stars. The destructive and bizarre relationship between Babette and Jack was uninteresting and I couldn't have cared in least for what each of them was doing to each other. By the end of the novel, it had just gotten so weird and far fetched that I was decided in my not enjoying post modern literature. In addition, I knew DeLillo was trying to do something deep and meaningful with all the talk about death, and I believe I understood it, but it was too drawn out. The constant and obsessive yet somehow redundant thoughts about death for the last 100 pages was just a little too much for me. Perhaps I missed something of the complexity but the themes to me seemed similar. Maybe that was point in which DeLillo was then, successful, but I didn't enjoy it. Overall, it was worth a read and I'm glad I did, but I think I will be careful in what I think about a book before I'm done with it.
The man writes beautifully, but this is no easy read. It is at times creepy, funny, poignant. Part satire, part cautionary tale. I can't say I loved it, but I like the point it made. I will let the next reader be the judge.
Incoherent satire of modern academic and suburban life
This wasn't bad. It took a while for me to get into the story, as I felt it started pretty slowly. An interesting exploration centering around the fear of death and at what lengths the characters go to in order to eradicate it. I'm not sure if I'd consider this the best book out there, but there's no denying that DeLillo's a talented writer.
Published in 1985, Don DeLillo's White Noise is a prescient commentary on the America that came to be. Jack Gladney is a non-German speaking professor of Hitler studies at a liberal arts school located in College on the Hill. He lives with his fourth wife Babette and their children from various marriages. There is a constant satirical commentary on mass consumer culture which is quite well done. The couple's fears of death are exaggerated as their town faces an "airborne toxic event." Quite funny in an absurd way and thought-provoking at turns, I find myself wondering if this book was really written in the pre-internet era. I can easily see why it won the National Book Award and a spot on the list of 1001 books you must read before you die.
This is the story of a college professor and his family whose small Midwestern town is evacuated after an industrial accident. . . . Jack Gladney is a professor of Hitler studies at the College-on-the-Hill.This is an America where no one is responsible or in control; all are receptors, receivers of stimuli, consumers. Some join Simuvac, which signs up local school children as volunteer victims in simulated evacuations. Gladney's wife, Babette, a low-key and adaptable faculty wife who reads tabloids to the blind and teaches senior citizens' classes in posture, is distinguished by her forgetfulness and her preoccupation with death.
Occasionally amusing but mostly frustrating. I normally like satires but this just didn't do it for me
Winner of the American Book Award