Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “White Noise” as Want to Read:
White Noise
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

White Noise

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  48,965 ratings  ·  2,733 reviews
A brilliant satire of mass culture and the numbing effects of technology, White Noise tells the story of Jack Gladney, a teacher of Hitler studies at a liberal arts college in Middle America. Jack and his fourth wife, Babette, bound by their love, fear of death, and four ultramodern offspring, navigate the rocky passages of family life to the background babble of brand-nam...more
Published (first published January 1st 1985)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about White Noise, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about White Noise

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jeffrey Keeten
I had this babysitter named Bernice who also was the postmistress of our wind swept Kansas town. My mom would drop me off at the post office which I'm pretty sure using the post office as a day care may have been against regulation, but this was small town America. Bernice was ultra-religious and obsessed with death. She had me convinced that she had a pact with GOD that when her time came she would ascend on a cloud in the same manner as Jesus Christ.

Photobucket

She told me if I prayed fervently I too wou...more
Jenn(ifer)
May 07, 2013 Jenn(ifer) rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: believers
Recommended to Jenn(ifer) by: the sentry to the island of misfit toys

If I had it my way, as soon as you clicked on my review this song would blare from your speakers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N3N1M... (and the video is amazing; I would rather you watch it than read my nonsensical ramblings)

************

This book smells like napalm. It sounds like air being slowly released from a balloon. It tastes like ashes of the American dream.

I wander the city, invisible earmuffs blocking out the sounds, eyes glued to pages, smile glued to my face. People look at me as...more
amber
Oct 08, 2007 amber rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: for people who take pills for a reason
My first Don DeLillo. Not for people who use the word postulate. My experience was almost entirely ruined by the used copy I received which had notes in the margins. It says "Help" when Jack Gladney talks about Hitler on multiple pages (Has this person never heard of Hitler?), it says "sheesh" when his son, Heinrich, goes into a long-winded ramble about brain chemistry and how he couldn't know what he really wants. The best of all the marginal note stupidity from anonymous though, is the discuss...more
David
Ooh look! It's a can. Looks like it might have worms inside. Let's open it up again.

Updated (i.e. "final") review: March 30th, 2008

So. I had read three quarters of this and decided to chuck it, but last night my compulsive side won over, and I went ahead and finished it. I still can't wrap my mind around the notion that I should somehow regard it as a "great book of the 20th century", and none of the 19 comments in this thread to date really addresses why I should. So, I am asking for enlighte...more
B0nnie
“What if death is nothing but sound....electrical noise….you hear it forever…sound all around…uniform, white.”
white noise
Think about that. Death: white noise. A metaphor for the substance of nothingness.

However you wish to describe it, death casts a large black shadow on us. It covers human beings but not animals - because animals are not afraid of death. Get rid of that shadow, problem solved…

What if there were a pill that that fixes the fear-of-death part of the brain and cures you of this "conditi...more
Dorothea
Oct 13, 2013 Dorothea rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hipster nihilists
Recommended to Dorothea by: My Dad!
Reading White Noise by Don DeLillo is the literary equivalent of 18 paranoid hours of non-stop channel surfing while chain-smoking and nursing a migraine in a smoggy, over-crowded city. On meth.

Do you want to know why this is one of the most important books of the 20th century? Because it's a good example of the postmodern simulacra, absurdist philosophy that plagued the latter half of the 20th century and still plagues us today. I felt bleak and empty for several days after reading this book, a...more
Ian Paganus de Fish
100 Words in Search of a Precis (For Those of Us Who Prefer the Short Form of Stimulation)

At its heart, “White Noise” is a comic dramatization of the fear of death.

In modern consumer society, we are only fulfilled if our shopping bags are filled full.

We do it in crowds. It must be right, if we’re all doing it. It’s part of the natural order. It’s “ordernary”.

It’s a collective delusion, “a convenient fantasy, the worst kind of self-delusion,” designed to distract us from our incapacitation in t...more
Stephen M
Dec 29, 2011 Stephen M rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: obras-maestras
After getting through this book for a third time, I'm still blown away by it. Although the social satire becomes more obvious on multiple readings, there are more than enough mind-blowing moments to make it worthwhile. I still have a few questions.

What does Wilder crying at the end mean? Is that him finally speaking? Or is it some semblance of hope?

Is Dylar real? Is it a placebo?

What happens to Mr. Gray at the end? At one moment he is about to die, then the next it cuts away to an argument about...more
Megha
I am having a very difficult time trying to decide if White Noise is actually an intelligent work which I completely failed to understand. Or is it just one of those novels which try to sound all smart and deep and profound, but do not actually make much sense.

The characters are all strange, the dialogue and prose is weird. It is perhaps not rare for authors to create characters that are unsentimental, and totally incapable of having a normal conversation. But I find it difficult to appreciate s...more
Rakhi Dalal
Jun 22, 2014 Rakhi Dalal rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: compelling
Every man discriminates between the voluntary acts of his mind, and his involuntary perceptions, and knows that to his involuntary perceptions a perfect faith is due. He may err in the expression of them, but he knows that these things are so, like day and night, not to be disputed.

-----------R.W.Emerson, Nature



White noise compellingly carries with it an inexorable clamour which seems to characterize the kind of lives that are lived today: a fear, panic or anxiety; of death, things terrible or...more
Kemper
A few years back, shortly after Katrina had her way with New Orleans, Time magazine did a cover story about how Americans prepare and cope with disasters. And we don’t do well with them. The story pointed out that while Americans love to obsess about all the potentially horrible things that can happen, we refuse to take actions to prevent or minimize their impact because we don’t want to admit that they’re really possible.

That’s why Americans will freak out if you try to spend a few hundred mill...more
Paul
I saw to my consternation that I'd given two stars to this smirkfest yet stuck it on my Finally Threw it At the Wall shelf. This is a contradiction. So : One Star For You, Mr DeLillo. Fuck off.
Christy
Feb 23, 2008 Christy rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teenagers being raised in suburbia who totally hate it/their parents
Recommended to Christy by: Someone who thought confronting consumerism was shocking.
I noticed there is a "Don Delillo's White Noise: A Reader's Guide" out there. I find that funny, but also somewhat offensive.

I'll come right out a say that I don't like Delillo, and am shocked by people who claim that he is a "good writer." Is being a good author the same as being a good writer? Shouldn't an author have something worthwhile to say, and shouldn't he be able to keep us interested while doing so? His characters are terribly one-note, his dialogue painfully contrived. I've decided t...more
Marco
Apr 09, 2008 Marco rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: smart people who don't get fat on American Idol.
This is probably the most accessible of Delillo's works, the one which I could pull off my shelf, dust off it's weathered skin, and hand to you, saying, "This is what the master does best." Or something a little less Masterpiece Theatre-y, but you get my drift.

It also contains a single line that probably sums up his entire literary career: "All plots move deathward."

Wikipedia talks about the book being a "absurdist family drama combined with academic satire." Yeah, that's a good start. Really,...more
Matt
I put this book on my 2009 Literary Resolutions List, which comprises 15 books culled from Time's List of the 100 Greatest Novels since 1920. I thought it was a novelization of that movie where Michael Keaton hears dead people. I was wrong.

I really didn't like this book. It annoyed, irritated, and grated on me.

The book follows Jack Gladney, who is a professor of Hitler Studies (a throwaway joke that is stretched throughout the entire book) at an eastern college. He's on his fourth marriage to...more
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Sep 03, 2009 Joshua Nomen-Mutatio rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People Who Think About Death-Anxiety and Technology and Entertainment
Shelves: fiction
DeLillo is pretty quotable. Here's a few from White Noise:

"How strange it is. We have these deep terrible lingering fears about ourselves and the people we love. Yet we walk around, talk to people, eat and drink. We manage to function. The feelings are deep and real. Shouldn't they paralyze us? How is it we can survive them, at least for a little while? We drive a car, we teach a class. How is it no one sees how deeply afraid we were, last night, this morning? Is it something we all hide from ea...more
Rayroy
Part One: Discovery in a National Book Store

Some books have such profound impacts on the reader, that it changes the way the reader thinks, the reader remembers the book crystal clear in his head years later, and the reader will never be the same anymore. That book for me is Don DeLillo's “White Noise”, unlike anything I read at the time and I became obsessed a little with it.

As best as I can estimate at the moment it was eight years ago that I found myself in the fiction section of Barnes a...more
MJ Nicholls
So White Noise seems to divide people entirely on matters of literary style, which is understandable. Once you accept the skewed reality of Delillo’s world, which isn’t particularly hard to do, you can take pleasure from the “unrealistic” dialogue and the surrealistic happenings as they happen, surrealistically. Otherwise, this is a straightforward book “about death”—theme-wise, this about as simple as they come. Delillo’s style for me was incredibly original, utterly engrossing and extremely fu...more
Aidan Watson-Morris
this book is a fucking masterpiece. i honestly think about it more than any other book i've read, if not every day than at least most days. i think the most common criticisms of it are bullshit. not, of course, that you can't dislike the book--just that i'm likely to dismiss whatever reason beyond the visceral you have for doing so, because i'm an asshole, & this is a great book.
Rose
Sep 28, 2008 Rose rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hipsters
Recommended to Rose by: 1001 books
I'm so happy that I finally reached a point in this book where I could accept that I wasn't going to finish it. I stuck with it for a long time because I'd heard good things and because I actually enjoyed it a lot at the beginning. But after the toxic event, it's just really stupid.

Few writers could make a massive, deadly toxic gas leak boring. But somehow, I feel the Don DeLillo has done it here. Such an interesting thing to read about - potential for some serious action and dread! But there w...more
Jonathan
Every so often you string together a series of stale intellectual months, your mind descending almost imperceptibly into fog as insights slip from sight before you ever quite see them and meanings merge with the things they're meant to make clear, and it may even begin to seem useless to bother with any cognition that concerns itself with more than the next paycheck, lay or meal – until you bumble into a book like White Noise and find yourself suddenly jarred back to something like clarity and e...more
Shovelmonkey1
Nov 16, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who hated the body artist
White Noise - a good coverall term for the background noise generated by modern day to day living. The click and hum of smart phones and I-pads, the whistles and beeps of novelty ring tones, the drone of 24 hour rolling news coverage, the banal conversations about Strictly Come Dancing with the Stars on Ice or the X-Factor. A modern day sleet of audio visual overload; a static of nothing which provides the sound track to 21st century consumption ,destruction and self-absorption. I like to think...more
Sentimental Surrealist
If you're looking for a traditionally Great Book, with fluid prose and beautiful descriptions and naturalistic dialog and likable characters who you come to root for, you might want to mediate your relationship with White Noise with a ten-foot pole, because let me tell you: this book is seriously weird. It flagrantly violates some rules of good writing, although we mustn't misunderstand: DeLillo has too much talent to blow all of them off. See, no matter what your reader's instincts might tell y...more
Paul
This is supposed to be a postmodern classic; I'm not so sure. It's meant to be a literary classic; one of the great novels of the twentieth century. Again I'm not sure, but I really enjoyed it. It is a very funny novel about very serious subjects.
Jack and Babette Gladney, live in a typical american town where Jack is an academic who teaches Hitler Studies (without knowing any German). They have assorted children from previous marraiges; all of whom are interesting characters in their own right....more
Rob
I recall a conversation that I had with one of my college writing professors; this was during one of the periods when I was writing one of my ill-fated for-credit novels [1]. We were talking about characters, character development, and (more specifically) about how you as the author can attempt to engage the reader through those characters, and thus why it becomes important for your characters to develop—to have an arc—to experience conflicts, and to struggle against those conflicts, and to chan...more
Natalie
This is the second DeLillo book in which I couldn't make it past page 30 without tossing it aside in disgust. Who is he fellating to get all this critical acclaim? His dialogue is absolutely terrible (nobody talks like that) and his writing outside of the dialogue is even worse. You want to critique American consumer culture, Don? Ooooh, edgy.

I know DeLillo has a following amongst the intellectual and literary elite, but I'm gonna come right out and say that the Emperor has no fucking clothes.
Camille Stein
'—A eso se reduce todo al final — dijo—. Nos pasamos la vida despidiéndonos de los demás. Pero, ¿cómo despedirnos de nosotros mismos?'

...


Resulta admirable cómo DeLillo aborda la realidad: de forma frívola en ocasiones; a veces como si se tratara de algo sobrenatural, dotado de una textura interna y escondida cuya clave resulta en apariencia ininteligible. Si hay algo de lo que no carece este autor es de una capacidad formidable de observación y posterior desentrañamiento del mundo y sus situac...more
Ethan
Sep 15, 2007 Ethan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Americans
Shelves: memebase
We drove 22 miles into the country around Farmington. There were meadows and apple orchards. White fences trailed through the rolling fields. Soon the signs started appearing. THE MOST PHOTOGRAPHED BARN IN AMERICA. We counted five signs before we reached the site. There were 40 cars and a tour bus in the makeshift lot. We walked along a cowpath to the slightly elevated spot set aside for viewing and photographing. All the people had cameras; some had tripods, telephoto lenses, filter kits. A man...more
Weinz
This started as a response to broken hearted David but became a review.

Well darling you are the one I need to talk to then because I really oscillated on this one. Enlighten me with your vast knowledge of the literary talents of DeLillo. I found his characters extremely monotonous. Every voice sounded like it was coming from the same mouth. None of the characters had their own identity but seemed to blend together in quirkiness. I understand that this may have been a tool to the message he was t...more
Adam
DeLillo’s White Noise, in which the domestic drama, the academic satire, the apocalyptic drama, the crime novel, and the social satire meet and mingle, deals, among other things, with the difference and distance between experience and expression. This point is most eloquently written into the novel by DeLillo in his exploration of the representative nature of language, and the often severe [and, to our narrator Jack/J.A.K. Gladney, severely distressing:] lack of a concrete connection between the...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
EDCMOOC: White Noise - August Read for Discussing on Saturday 6th Sept (Sunday for NZ) 7 11 Sep 06, 2014 01:25PM  
White Noise 20 247 Dec 11, 2013 03:03PM  
  • Seek: Reports from the Edges of America and Beyond
  • The Young Man's Guide
  • American Boys Handy Book
  • The Book of Deeds of Arms and of Chivalry
  • Chimera
  • Dog Soldiers
  • The Crying of Lot 49
  • JR
  • Essential Manners for Men: What to Do, When to Do It, and Why
  • Herzog
  • Experience: A Memoir
  • A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement
  • Girl with Curious Hair
  • The Sportswriter
  • The Frontier in American History
  • The Assistant
  • Falconer
  • The Rough Riders
233
Don DeLillo is an American author best known for his novels, which paint detailed portraits of American life in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. He currently lives outside of New York City.

Among the most influential American writers of the past decades, DeLillo has received, among author awards, a National Book Award (White Noise, 1985), a PEN/Faulkner Award (Mao II, 1991), and an American...more
More about Don DeLillo...
Underworld Libra Cosmopolis Falling Man Mao II

Share This Book

“No sense of the irony of human experience, that we are the highest form of life on earth, and yet ineffably sad because we know what no other animal knows, that we must die.” 183 likes
“I've got death inside me. It's just a question of whether or not I can outlive it.” 150 likes
More quotes…