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Publisher's Summary

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

What listeners say about White Noise

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dee
  • 2017-08-22

Narrator is superlative - danke Herr Prichard

The combination of hard copy and audio copy brings the magic to White Noise. This book deserves a second read.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Martin Turley
  • 2020-04-28

Great book, wrong narrator.

I love this book, but the narrator is all wrong. He doesn’t capture the feeling at all.

3 people found this helpful

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  • RI in Canada
  • 2016-10-15

Designed to be analyzed by an English class

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.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-01-30

“All Plots Lead Deathward”

“White Noise” is a wonderfully sad and eloquently written story about a man who’s greatest fear is death. Jack lives out his everyday interacting with his family and professional life as he deals with the internal tolls of his fear. Commenting on the many ways we attempt to ignore death, DeLillo shines a bright and eerie light on consumer culture, modern lifestyle, ignorance, and quiet desperation.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dr. Steven Taylor
  • 2016-05-13

Awful narrator

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Awful narrator. Stilted, nasal voice. Ruined one of De Lillo's best books. Much better narrator on his new book Zero K.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Lilly Pittman
  • 2019-12-03

An Odd Sort of Book

This is a crazy book in terms of content, not action. The audiobook kept me moving through the story and listening to it on 2x speed often made me laugh because of punchy, unrelated sentences. I need time to digest what just happened.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Pamela S K Glasner
  • 2019-08-17

12 Hours and 48 Minutes I’ll Never Get Back

Grandma always used to tell me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Well, Grandma, I honor your loving memory, but in this one case, I am going to have to disappoint you.

There are 40 chapters in this book. I waited until chapter 23 (rather, I forced myself to endure the first 22) until DeLillo finally (FINALLY!) got to the point. I can appreciate wanting to introduce your characters to your readers, to make them fully understand the family and its dynamics. But this was like those old Lifetime movies – the ones where you could afford to miss the first hour, join mid-story, and still, easily, follow the plot to its conclusion.

DeLillo does have a lovely sense of humor – it’s the only thing that kept me hanging on for those first 22 … that and the fact that I had no choice: I had to read this book for a graduate class in “advanced research and writing in the humanities.” Otherwise I would have ditched it around chapter 4 or 5.

Every single character had the exactly same voice, spoke with the same sentence structure, the same mannerisms, the same cadence, as every other character, regardless of whether that character was husband, wife, neighbor, doctor, nun, teacher, colleague, or offspring.

And every character argued. Ridiculous, inane, circular arguments for no apparent reason, making no apparent point, and reaching no apparent conclusion. In a sitcom, this might be cute. In a 326-page book, it’s just annoying.

The narration was – I’m sorry – really bad! No inflection whatsoever, regardless of the words being read. Even recipes don’t have to sound that way! Something that was really odd: several common words were mispronounced, accents on the wrong syllable, or Sunni (as in one of the two major branches of Islam) being pronounced “sunny,” like the sky. Only a computer program could make that mistake, right? Or maybe not – perhaps the narrator was just worse than I thought.

All in all, I strongly suggest if you’re looking for enjoyment or inspiration, spend your time and money elsewhere.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Patrick Barney
  • 2019-04-05

Okay, not great.

On some level, I just don't get what DeLillo is doing. He's funny at some points. really funny. at others, he just seems super bland.

1 person found this helpful

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  • M. Greer
  • 2017-09-21

Catching up on literary fiction

If you could sum up White Noise in three words, what would they be?

Modern life in middle age

What other book might you compare White Noise to and why?

DeLillo is unique

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Meh - could have been more urgent

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The wife's search for more in life

Any additional comments?

none

3 people found this helpful

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  • Ender
  • 2017-07-08

Typical postmodernism.

Flat, dry, and boring. The narrator presents the story in such a way that it amplifies it's contrived nature.

5 people found this helpful