1001 Book Review – White Noise Don DeLillo
White Noise by Don Delillo
Published in: 1985
Literary Awards: National Book Award
Reviewed by: Nicole
Find it here: White Noise
“Helpless and fearful people are drawn to magical figures, mythic figures, epic men who intimidate and darkly loom.”
I had a peripheral awareness of Don DeLillo but I had him melded with Dominic Dunne in my mind. DD – not a big stretch. I read my first DeLillo this year because there were speculations that Zero K would be nominated for the Man Booker (still thinking it was the other D.D. by the way.)
One of the best quotes I’ve ever read in a book came from Zero K:
“Half the world are remodeling their kitchens. The other half are starving.”
I loved that book and immediately went in search of other books of his I could find at the library. I haven’t been “reading” many books this year, more listening, but I am glad I couldn’t find this on audio because I would have missed out on highlighting so many passages of brilliance.
Though this book was written in 1985, it was written in such a way that it is every bit as relevant today. DeLillo reminds me of several of my favorite authors – he has the insight I love in A.M. Homes, the wordplay of Chuck Palahniuk (who incidentally has mostly fallen out of favor with me, but in his early books he was brilliant), and reminds me of a sardonic Tom Robbins.
DeLillo’s mind boggles me. The level of satire is off the charts. It’s so sophisticated you barely realize it’s satire until you burst out laughing and marvel at the genius. On catastrophes “We want them, we need them, we depend on them. As long as they happen somewhere else. This is where California comes in. Mud slides, brush fires, coastal erosion, earthquakes, mass killings, et cetera. We can relax and enjoy these disasters because in our hearts we feel that California deserves whatever it gets. Californians invented the concept of life-style. This alone warrants their doom.”
This is a book about life and death – I don’t know if DeLillo is always focused on death, but this book and Zero K both are. “The power of the dead is that we think they see us all the time. The dead have a presence. Is there a level of energy composed solely of the dead? They are also in the ground, of course, asleep and crumbling. Perhaps we are what they dream.”
I could type out quotes from half the book. If you like books with an intelligent critical eye for social commentary, please do yourself a favor and read this. Or was I the last to know?
Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: White Noise
We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think?