Winner of the National Book Award, White Noise tells the story of Jack Gladney; his fourth wife, Babette; and four ultramodern offspring as they navigate the rocky passages of family life to the background babble of brand-name consumerism.
When an industrial accident unleashes an "airborne toxic event", a lethal black chemical cloud floats over their lives. The menacing cloud is a more urgent and visible version of the "white noise" engulfing the Gladneys - radio transmissions, sirens, microwaves, ultrasonic appliances, and TV murmurings - pulsing with life yet suggesting something ominous.
©1984, 1985 Don DeLillo (P)2016 Simon & Schuster
I read this because my daughter had to read it for a course. It is plodding and fairly predictable. It's like Jonathan Franzen's Corrections but without any humour. I realize, I'm reading Americana backwards, but the connections are apt anyway. The themes are fairly bluntly beaten over the head: fear of death, yep we're all going to die, loss of faith, etc. etc. The characters are cardboard caricatures without any apparent irony. Maybe DeLillo was first, but the schtick is so weary that it hardly seems worth the effort.
The narration by Michael Prichard was just as plodding, thank goodness for the ability to listen at 1.5 speed on the Audible app.
Awful narrator. Stilted, nasal voice. Ruined one of De Lillo's best books. Much better narrator on his new book Zero K.
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