White Noise Audiobook | Don DeLillo | Audible.com
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White Noise | [Don DeLillo]

White Noise

Jack Gladney teaches Hitler studies at a liberal arts college in Middle America where his colleagues include New York expatriates who want to immerse themselves in "American magic and dread". Jack and his fourth wife, Babette, bound by love, fear of death, and four ultramodern offspring, navigate the usual rocky passages of family life to the background babble of brand-name consumerism. Then a lethal black cloud floats over their lives, an airborne "toxic event", an industrial accident.
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Publisher's Summary

Jack Gladney teaches Hitler studies at a liberal arts college in Middle America where his colleagues include New York expatriates who want to immerse themselves in "American magic and dread". Jack and his fourth wife, Babette, bound by love, fear of death, and four ultramodern offspring, navigate the usual rocky passages of family life to the background babble of brand-name consumerism. Then a lethal black cloud floats over their lives, an airborne "toxic event", an industrial accident. The menacing cloud is a more urgent and visible version of the "white noise" engulfing the Gladney family: radio transmissions, sirens, microwaves, ultrasonic appliances, and TV murmurings, pulsing with life, yet filled with dread and danger.

©1985 Don DeLillo; (P)2000 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“…stick with this book, and Prichard, through the rough spots. You will be rewarded with the never-wavering magic of DeLillo, and some good laughs.” (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (166 )
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3.8 (82 )
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3.8 (78 )
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Performance
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  •  
    04-27-05
    04-27-05 Listener Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "HORRIBLE performance."

    I bet this is a good read, but the narrator is so bored with the text that he ruins everything that is supposed to be quirky in this story. Don't bother with this one!

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine Carey Columbia, MD 02-14-09
    Christine Carey Columbia, MD 02-14-09 Member Since 2007

    p_sunshine

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One you'll think about months later"

    I picked up this book (on audio) because of the passage that B.R. Myers tore apart in "A Reader's Manifesto: An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose".

    There were some brilliant bits, and when something was actually happening, it was d@mn near riveting. The comments on society and consumerism were laugh out loud funny, and all of the female characters were surprisingly developed. Sadly, whenever the protagonist was talking with any of the other male characters, they droned on and on. (Think "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance")

    Glad I read (listened) to it, probably wouldn't reread

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brenda berkeley springs, WV, United States 11-19-11
    brenda berkeley springs, WV, United States 11-19-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ponderous. I just wasted a credit"

    I wanted to like this, I really did. But the reader's monotone killed it. I've been listening to a lot of audio books and have often admired the many different intonations and even dialects that one reader can use to transform the characters. This book, not so much. I can't even get past that to understand what this book is even about. Sorry!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly Pocatello, ID, USA 03-28-07
    Kimberly Pocatello, ID, USA 03-28-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "All Plots Lead to Death."

    I have really enjoyed this book. The narrator sounds, to me, exactly like Paul Harvey on NPR, which amuses me for some reason. Maybe an odd choice of narrator for an audiobook, but for the context of this book, I think he's great. His narration adds to the sense of impending doom that is such an important part of the book! (If you feel he's a bit flat, as some folks do, it helps to bump the speed up a notch if you are using an iPod).

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Gulfport, FL, USA 04-26-08
    Jennifer Gulfport, FL, USA 04-26-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "great book, bad reader!"

    I have read this book before, and love it, I find it hilarious! As I was about to start on a road trip (mostly night driving) I decided to get this audio version to keep me company and awake. BAD idea! This wonderful book has been turned boring by the bored sounded narrator, whose voice just drones on and on. Rather than having an inside-joker voice like the book seems to have, his is old and dry...

    Definitely worth reading, but skip the audio version...

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terri FORT WORTH, TX, United States 10-23-11
    Terri FORT WORTH, TX, United States 10-23-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very compelling!"
    What made the experience of listening to White Noise the most enjoyable?

    The narrator was spot on for the book. The characters were very well developed, believable and recognizable.


    What other book might you compare White Noise to and why?

    The angst of the father brings to mind some of John Irving's writing.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There were too many to pick one out. The father, our hero, had such a great voice every scene was well done.


    Who was the most memorable character of White Noise and why?

    Definitely, the father.


    Any additional comments?

    I plan to read more by Don DeLillo!!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terra Meierdierck 05-27-11 Listener Since 2008
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    "Love the book"

    Love the book, but the voice could have been a bit more "pleasant" to listen to.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Hyde Park, NY, USA 06-28-09
    John Hyde Park, NY, USA 06-28-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Reader is like Ambien!"

    I have to read this book for a class that I am taking. The person that is doing the reading has such a horrible monotone, and reads so slow it just puts me to sleep! I just hope I can get my money back it is so bad! I have switched back to reading the book because it'll take less time, and I'll get more from it. What a shame.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marissa Chevy Chase, MD, United States 09-25-10
    Marissa Chevy Chase, MD, United States 09-25-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Eeerily Predictive of LIfe 25 Years later"

    The White Noise is that of our society, advertising, media, relationships that is eerily predictive of the societal noise surrounding us 25 years later. Do not expect realistic dialog (which is all so many recent novels promise) but instead expositions on daily life. The book can be challenging at times, annoying at times, perplexing at times. There is always a veneer of contrivance, but I never minded, due to the insights and compelling prose.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris CHANDLER, AZ, United States 02-11-14
    Chris CHANDLER, AZ, United States 02-11-14 Member Since 2012
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    "I'd Heard Delilo Was a Difficult Read, But..."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I would not. The book barely has a plot, which is fine, I don't necessarily need a book to have a plot, but if it doesn't, it needs characters I like. The characters in White Noise were all nihilist faux-intellectuals, and while I get the commentary, it meant that I hated absolutely everyone during the long stretches where absolutely nothing happened. Pages upon pages of contrarian, nihilist conversation where nobody just answers a question, they must pontificate on nonsense first. I found White Noise to be an exercise in patience in terms of the nearly non-existent plot, and an exercise in frustration with every single person who inhabits the story.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    The climax was the only moment where I genuinely related to the character and found the story to be compellingly written. Once it is done, however, the story returns to a frustrating slog during the falling action and epilogue.


    How could the performance have been better?

    I absolutely despised the narrator, who seemed to be reading from a time period where audiobook narrators were trained to read with absolutely no emotion or temperance or anything. He is far and beyond the most boring narrator I've ever heard, and I feel he nearly killed the humor of the book, which is by nature super dry and, well, monotonous.


    Do you think White Noise needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    The story is pretty well wrapped-up.


    Any additional comments?

    I'd heard that Delilo was a difficult read, but when I hear that, I expect a book to use complex language, have spindly uninteresting prose, or have indecipherable metaphoric imagery. White Noise has none of the above. The book is metaphoric, but no more than any other literary novel-- this isn't Old Man and the Sea. This isn't Kafka. What makes this book a difficult read is its impossibly slow narrative and monotonous dialog. I would not say that Delilo is incapable of writing good characters because the fact that everyone seems to be obnoxious seems to have a point-- the writing seems to be making commentary on those that purport intellectual are bs, but it leaves me with absolutely no one to grasp on to, so when things do happen-- which literally takes hours of reading before it does-- I do not care. A difficult read indeed, but for none of the reasons I thought.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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