Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
White Noise Paperback – Deckle Edge, December 29, 2009
|New from||Used from|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Investigators said it could be the ventilating system, the paint or varnish, the foam insulation, the electrical insulation, the cafeteria food, the rays emitted by microcomputers, the asbestos fireproofing, the adhesive on shipping containers, the fumes from the chlorinated pool, or perhaps something deeper, finer-grained, more closely woven into the fabric of things.J.A.K. Gladney, world-renowned as the living center, the absolute font, of Hitler Studies in North America in the mid-1980s, describes the malaise affecting his town in a superbly ironic and detached manner. But even he fails to mask his disquiet. There is menace in the air, and ultimately it is made manifest: a poisonous cloud--an "airborne toxic event"--unleashed by an industrial accident floats over the town, requiring evacuation. In the aftermath, as the residents adjust to new and blazingly brilliant sunsets, Gladney and his family must confront their own poses, night terrors, self-deceptions, and secrets.
DeLillo is at his dark, hilarious best in this 1985 National Book Award winner, a novel that preceded but anticipated the explosion of the Internet, tabloid television, and the dialed-in, wired-up, endlessly accelerated tenor of the culture we live in. He doesn't just describe life in a hypermediated society, he re-creates it. His characters repeat phrases, information, and rumor gleaned from television, radio, and other media sources like people speaking in code. And DeLillo has seeded the book with short gemlike episodes that demand to be read aloud, and that haunt the imagination years after their first reading: a visit to the Most Photographed Barn in America. A plane that nearly falls out of the sky. An hour in a classroom, canonizing Elvis. These vignettes are vivid and unique, yet, like the phrases from television shows that interject themselves, out of context, into Gladney's consciousness, they are strangely unconnected to one another--reflections of the lives DeLillo is showing us we lead. --Jan Bultmann --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Now, this all recalls the dry writings of Heidegger or Baudrillard, but instead DeLillo will have you laughing til you cry with certain passages. We have a Professor who is head of the "Hitler Studies" department (one thing about information overload is that people specialize in minutiae). His colleague, Murray, who philosophizes over food labels, wants to start an "Elvis Studies" department.
The concept of the "hyperreal" is evoked. For example, there is a tourist site near the college. It has no other appeal than the fact that it is the "most photographed barn" in America. Throughout the book we see the characters, just like many of us, concentrate on image rather than substance.
I have noticed that there is a review below by a man that claims that neither he nor his "brilliant" wife the engineer found anything of interest in "White Noise". I, too, am an engineer and know, by the way, that most engineers find themselves (often victims of self-deception) "brilliant". I speculate that the reason they could not understand this book is that they are too submerged in the "white noise" world of consumerism and information. In addition to that many engineers are afraid to address the issue of the dark side of technology.
"White Noise" is a book about death -- more specifically, our fear of death -- and how we have created a consumer infotainment paradise to distract us from our inevitable demise. But that description hardly does the book justice. There's more brilliance on any page of "White Noise" than I could hope to write in a lifetime.
DeLillo has a knack for finding deep meaning in common things -- like a supermarket. Characters are described as much by their postures and gestures as they are by words. Most of the important meanings of the book are left for readers to think on their own.
If you need a plot and lots of A-B-C action, please don't read White Noise. It's a book for people open to seeing the world in a different light. "White Noise" proves that there is nothing more reassuring than a disaster, and nothing more terrifying than the banal.