Apr 07, 10
Read in January, 2010
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 such a use of artistic license if it doesn't make any point at all and serves no purpose.
On top of being obscure, the prose lacks fluidity. There are abrupt scene changes and needless interruptions of scenes. In several places, DeLillo interrupts a dialogue to throw in a bunch of brand names, unrelated to the scene, and then carries on with the dialogue again.
I think one of the things that I was very disappointed with was that DeLillo did not convincingly explain the transformation of an ordinary man (well, ordinary in DeLillio's universe) into a murderer, which is specially disappointing for a novel which revolves(or pretends to) quite a bit around human psychology.
I gave it three stars because for first 100 pages or so, Don DeLillo did succeed in making me think that he was building up to something really good. However, by the time I finished the book, I was so numbed by the absurd dialogue that I had already forgotten what it was that I had liked initially.
Few examples of meaninglessness:
"He looks like a man who finds dead bodies erotic." (This one takes the cake.)
"The point of rooms is that they are inside. No one should go into a room unless he understands this. People behave one way in rooms, another way in streets, parks and airports. To enter a room is to agree on a certain kind of behavior that takes place in rooms. This is the standard, as opposed to parking lots and beaches. It is the point of the rooms. No one should enter a room not knowing the point......" (What will I ever do without these words of wisdom!)