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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

3.7 (249 )
5 star
 (83)
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Overall
3.8 (160 )
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Story
3.7 (155 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Laurie Van Horn 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!

    16 of 17 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
    44
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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
  •  
    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...

    10 of 12 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
  •  
    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.

    9 of 12 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
    5
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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!

    5 of 7 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
  •  
    Terri FORT WORTH, TX, United States 10-23-11
    Terri FORT WORTH, TX, United States 10-23-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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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 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JAD31 04-09-15
    JAD31 04-09-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    21
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    "Horrible Reader. Ok story."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The reader of this story is horrible. This is probably one of the worst readings I've ever listened to. My nephew recommended the book; said it was a good story. This reader, however, made it hard for me to enjoy the story and get into it. I think I'll ask my nephew to borrow his book.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Michael Prichard?

    ANYONE who can speak with inflection and character. This guy is the pure definition of MONOTONE.


    Could you see White Noise being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    I didn't enjoy this book because of the reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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