Customer Reviews for

White Noise

Average Rating 3.5
( 69 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(25)

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(14)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Consumerism and Death

White Noise / 978-1-440-67447-1 White Noise, arguably Delillo's best work, carefully explores a world where consumerism has, almost literally, consumed us all, to the point where we become empty shells of people. The extended family in the book have been reduced by cons...
White Noise / 978-1-440-67447-1 White Noise, arguably Delillo's best work, carefully explores a world where consumerism has, almost literally, consumed us all, to the point where we become empty shells of people. The extended family in the book have been reduced by consumerism to two-dimensional beings, dependent upon television and other cultural stimuli to tell them how to think and behave. Occasionally, they act out against this emptiness (or is it that a wire has been crossed in the brain?) with idiosyncrasies such as a pronounced preference for the smell of burnt toast, or a tendency to find frumpy jogging outfits attractive. On the weekends, they shop at the local supermarket, under the soporific thrall of the overhead neon lights. When their consumer culture literally threatens to kill them, via a toxic waste spill on the town railroad, they are ill-prepared to respond and look to their customary authorities (television and radio) on how to react to the emergency. When fire trucks storm through town, broadcasting an evacuation notice, the mother wonders absently whether the evacuation is a suggestion or a command. And in the aftermath of the toxic cloud, even when many have died and many more have had their lives shortened by exposure to the poison, the town feels no outrage, only numbness that what is normally confined to the television news stories nevertheless happened in their idyllic town. Actors themselves, they practice emergency evacuations, determined to perform better "next time". Despite the shallowness of their lives, they fear death. Some self-medicate with dangerous experimental drugs in an attempt to control that fear. Others take up death-defying hobbies in the hope that this will deaden their fear. They discuss which food preservatives will kill them, whether the phones lines will cause cancer, which yoga poses will prolong their lives, and how to squeeze every drop of life out of their lives. When a character points out how much energy is wasted in daily life (carrying things that don't need to be carried, making extra trips, etc.), another asks what would one do with all the saved energy. The answer: Live longer. In this way, Delillo paints a stunning and frightening portrait of a community that fears death yet has no love for life. ~ Ana Mardoll

posted by AnaMardoll on December 18, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

More like White Crap

Along with The Catcher in the Rye, this is the worst book of all time. This book has a plot...sort of. it moves so slowly, that by the time it ends, you hate everyone in the family so much that you hope they all die. Boo to White Noise.

posted by Anonymous on December 27, 2004

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2002

    review

    i would recommend this book but would advice that the reader try to get something out of each scenario rather than something from the entire book. there are obvious themes that help tie the scenes together but overall the plot is lacking and unresolved.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2002

    No Drama book

    I did not like this book on several occasions. One is that the book was not at all what, I had in mind. I was thinking it might be about a family and how it is struggling in the world. Also, I felt that it might have been about a little boy who made so much noise. Two, I am a drama person and this book does not get into any drama. I just say that the book was not worth me reading. If you find it interest then good luck. Also, you must have to be into a book that can relate to what you want to read and not what someone else thing is good. I listen to other people on the book and not myself.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2000

    Author gets in touch with human emotion

    I know I'm enjoying a book when I can sit there reading and think to myself, 'I know exactly what the author means.' I can't count the number of times I thought that while reading this novel. 'White Noise had the intense message and the pulsing modernity of Ellison's 'Invisible Man,' with a more interesting and invigorating storyline. DeLillo did not simply create characters, he created people: quirky, believable and real. He addresses the innate human fear of death and the emptiness of contemporary consumerism in a style that is difficult to do justice to in a simple review. This book is a pinnacle of modern fiction.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2000

    Delillo is THE American writer for our time

    A seemingly average family, caught in the midst of disaster... and stripped of their illusions that they, or anyone else, is in control. Delillo's writing style brings into sharp clarity the fragmented nature of our own lives; the interruptions and distractions within each mundane day take on a haunted feeling as he brings them to light and examines their nature. Industrialism, alienation, and ignorance are questioned by this most agile writer. A truly thought-provoking novel.

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    Posted January 18, 2010

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