Author: Don DeLillo
Title: White Noise
Description: Jack Gladney is a professor of Hitler Studies at a small college. He and his fourth wife and their assorted children, along with the rest of their town, are subjected to an airborne toxic event, which Jack figures may end his life, though he’s not sure when. As he tries to learn German (because what self-respecting Hitler Studies scholar does not read and speak German) and his children negotiate visitations with various non-custodial parents, Jack’s wife Babette may be taking a mysterious medicine for an unknown malady.
Review source: The Penguin motherlode.
Plot: By the end of the book, a plot has developed, although it certainly takes a might long while to get going.
Characters: The characters in this book are either caricatures or the type of people I’ve never met. I think it’s sort of weird that I don’t really know which.
Writing style: This is my first DeLillo book. I know he’s revered, but I don’t know why, especially. I guess the best I can say is that this is the type of book that certain people who are not me really get excited about. I did find it a little bit funny at points, in a wry, non-smiling, non-laughing kind of way. I also found it pretty disconnected—both me from the characters and the episodes in the book from one another.
Audience: literary fiction
Wrap-up: This book is ultimately about living in the late 20th century and the fear of death. A completely secular approach to these problems never does much for me because it is always so incomplete. It’s probably realistic, since most folks think that way, but I just can’t relate. (Or maybe it’s more gender-specific than I realize and there is this sort of old white man kind of writing that I just hate: Roth, Bellow, Updike, blah blah). Anyway, it was readable. 3/5*