White Noise: (great Books Edition) by Don DelilloWhite Noise: (great Books Edition) by Don Delillo

White Noise: (great Books Edition)

byDon Delillo

Paperback | May 26, 1999

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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.
Don DeLillo published his first short story when he was twenty-three years old. He has since written twelve novels, including White Noise (1985) which won the National Book Award. It was followed by Libra (1988), his novel about the assassination of President Kennedy, and by Mao II, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. In 19...
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Title:White Noise: (great Books Edition)Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.3 × 5.54 × 0.88 inPublished:May 26, 1999Publisher:Penguin BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140283307

ISBN - 13:9780140283303

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Don Delillo is absolutely fabulous.
Date published: 2017-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible One of my favourite books of all time. Brilliant.
Date published: 2017-06-09
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Did I miss something? This book sounded great but it was very dull. The characters were not interesting and although it may have been ground breaking in the past I just felt like it was mediocre nowadays. Was it supposed to be witty and funny? Maybe I missed something?
Date published: 2017-03-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not My Taste I agree with the majority of the other reviews: this is a brilliant work of art that explores many themes that are present in everyday life. Unfortunately, I did not care for the story itself. I found it rather dull, and the synopsis on the back of the book lead me to believe it was a dystopian when it really wasn't. I think it is an important book to read, but it is not one that I would pick up to read a second time. Although, I did enjoy the main characters- they were so ordinary and bizarre. It felt like I could meet them in my suburban neighborhood.
Date published: 2017-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Deeply Affecting I can’t recall the last time that I was deeply affected by a book; shaken to the core, forced to analyze my beliefs, and profoundly changed on the other end of reading it. I just put White Noise down, and am wondering how I’ll be able to read anything else going forward. I haven’t had time to process all of my thoughts coherently, and am not sure I ever will, but I know that I didn’t want this book to end. There is so many layers to this book that I could talk about, but it’s most overt commentary – an incapacitating fear of death – hit me at the right time. "Everything we need that is not food or love is here in the tabloid racks. The tales of the supernatural and the extraterrestrial. The miracle vitamins, the cures for cancer, the remedies for obesity. The cults of the famous and the dead." There is nothing dated about this work from 1985; the underlying themes feel relevant in our modern world, overrun by technology. This story is told from the perspective of Jack Gladney, patriarch to a blended family and teacher of Hitler Studies, but is very much about all of the members of his family. His kids are unique and represent many viewpoints, and his wife, Babette, provides powerful insight into the feeling of nothingness experienced by so many. These characters busy themselves with the white noise of life and are so consumed with the fear of death, that they ultimately fail to live meaningfully while they have the chance. "How strange it is. We have these deep terrible lingering fears about ourselves and the people we love. Yet we walk around, talk to people, eat and drink. We manage to function. The feelings are deep and real. Shouldn’t they paralyze us? How is it we can survive them, at least for a little while?" Yes, this book is nihilistic. It’s over the top and fantastical, yet somehow completely realistic. While I don’t fear death in such an extreme way as these characters, I do fear it for my loved ones. I can barely handle the thought that my kids are mortal beings, and at times it overwhelms me. Yet, I manage to function, because that’s what people do. "Isn’t death the boundary we need? Doesn’t it give precious texture to life, a sense of definition? You have to ask yourself whether anything you do in this life would have beauty and meaning without the knowledge you carry a final line, a border or limit."
Date published: 2017-01-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptional Unlike a previous reviewer, I thought the presentation of the book was unique and very well contrived. The characters, while explicitly unlikable, were a true reproduction of mainstream society today; no one thinks for themselves, everything is accepted as fact, etc. The novel isn't really plot driven as it's more of a metaphysical reflection on today's society, so if you're expecting a super fast paced exciting read this one isn't for you.
Date published: 2016-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Funny, eloquent, perfect.
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The American Book of the Dead DeLillo most famous and best book - if you only read one book by him, this should be it. Consumerism, media saturation, blended families, midlife crisis, and death - it's all grist for D's postmodern mill. A modern classic.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mind blown. Let DeLillo take you on a postmodern journey into contemporary American culture - a world where family becomes replaceable, media takes over, and originality is replaced by reproduction. Beautifully written, a defining novel in English literature. Falters slightly near the end, but still a 5-star read.
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Dull In White Noise, Don Delillo sets out to explore a topic that as relevant and fascinating today as it was when the novel was first written - our fast-changing and confusing world, where knowledge is ephemeral and technology has infiltrated every corner of our lives. While the message is clear and captivating, it repeatedly bludgeons the reader over the head. The characters are neither independent nor interesting. Rather than being human beings eliciting some kind of emotional reaction from the reader, they're used more like cheap conduits for the themes of the novel. The dialogue is often wooden and unnatural, and though it often touches on philosophical musings that would make the reader pause and think, the effectiveness of the message is compromised by how ludicrous it sounds coming out the mouths of these characters. Delillo uses satire well, and the bits of absurd humour do lighten an otherwise heavy load. The last thirty pages are a surrealistic romp that conveys the mood of the story far better than the rest of the novel preceding them. While the reader can appreciate Delillo's mastery of the language, one starts to wonder whether the novel suffers from an excess of a good thing.
Date published: 2012-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from "American magic and dread" I have to say I am quite shocked at how low this book has been scored on chapters.com. In White Noise DeLillo has created one of the smartest and funniest novels I have ever read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading White Noise and DeLillo's prose raises questions of the state of our modern world, what we take for granted and a believed regression of the human race. I personally loved White Noise, but I can see how people can be a bit put off by the narrative. Yet, anyone who enjoyed Margaret Atwood's The Edible Woman or Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk will love this book.
Date published: 2010-01-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Surprisingly Boring White Noise had been recommended to me by a salesperson at a Chapters outlet. After reading the dust jacket I had great expextations. Unfortunately this didn't pan out. The book contains some very interesting ideas, but their presentation was awful. The characters were unlikable as a whole, and their dialogue was unrepresentative of any group of people I've ever encountered. The plot dragged as a whole, and was not helped by the ridiculous amount of repetitive scenes. An interesting concept, but an altogether terrible read.
Date published: 2006-08-12
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Don't See All the Fuss This book came with rave reviews from my best friend and a fellow colleague of mine, and I have to say that I am now very hesitant to take their suggestions for future reads. To be fair, Delillo has his moments of effective prose and insight into the human condition, but these moments are few and far between. Overall, I found this novel to be pretentious and repetitive; I understand that he is trying to be ironic in his observations, but the irony is overdone to the point of annoying the reader....at least this reader. Highly over-rated author and book.
Date published: 2006-08-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Needs & Wants Will make you reevaluate what you really want in your life.
Date published: 2002-02-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from White Noise This book shows a strong focus on consumerism in the early 1980's. It shows how two parents deal their ultra modern children in an ever growing world of modernism.
Date published: 2000-04-20

From Our Editors

Jack and Babette, the ideal American couple, live a middle class life with their children. Only, Babette’s addicted to an experimental drug and toxins threaten Jack’s suburban world. Don DeLillo’s book White Noise, winner of the 1985 National Book award, comments on and criticizes the American way of living and its values.