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White Noise
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White Noise > White Noise - August Read for Discussing on Saturday 6th Sept (Sunday for NZ)

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message 1: by Kc (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kc | 126 comments Mod
August read for a chat on Saturday September 6th

message 2: by Kc (last edited Aug 02, 2014 03:01PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kc | 126 comments Mod
White Noise by Don DeLillo is our August read for discussion on Saturday 6th September at 21:30 (UK time) (Sunday for NZ).

I found an e-book here http://ebookbrowsee.net/don-delillo-w... or it's not very expensive for the Kindle or as a used book.

Chris has kindly agreed to moderate. Please post any comments/themes etc. below as usual!


message 3: by Asta (last edited Sep 05, 2014 02:01PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Asta | 18 comments Mod
Just finished reading "White Noise".
I bought it as an e-book for my Kindle. It included extracts from first reviews (1986), as well as extracts from interviews with Don DeLillo.

Here are the passages I highlighted (too long for Twitter chat, so I post them here):

(Murray speaking during a visit to "THE MOST PHOTOGRAPHED BARN IN AMERICA"):
"Being here is a kind of spiritual surrender. We see only what the others see. The thousands who were here in the past, those who will come in the future. We've agreed to be part of a collective perception. This literally colors our vision. A religious experience in a way, like all tourism".

"For most people there are only two places in the world. Where they live and their TV set. If a thing happens on television, we have every right to find it fascinating, whatever it is".

"Where's the media?" she said.
"There is no media in Iron City."
"They went through all that for nothing?"

"Isn't death the boundary we need? Doesn't it give a precious texture to life, a sense of definition? You have to ask yourself whether anything you do in this life would have beauty and meaning without the knowledge you carry of a final line, a border or limit."

Asta | 18 comments Mod
Several questions that I quickly brainstormed after reading the book:

What do you think about the ending? Is there an ending?

Which child did you like best? Why?

What is the function of Murray in the novel?

What do you think about the title, "White Noise"?

In order to bring the novel up to date, should we replace television with the Internet?

What do you think of death as a subject for fiction?

message 5: by Kc (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kc | 126 comments Mod
Good questions. I finished it a week or so ago, need to refresh my memory! Pre internet days, but interesting and relevant to our techy world.

Chris | 24 comments Mod
Good questions. The Most Photographed Barn in America passage was funny and well observed. Even more in the age of social media.

I need to finish the book this afternoon. Look forward to the chat later.


message 7: by Chris (last edited Sep 06, 2014 02:52PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chris | 24 comments Mod
The standout quote for me which summed the whole book up was: "The tide in man's blood has been complicated by technology, the daily seeping falsehearted death". There is a strong sense throughout the book that mass media, technology, consumerism has isolated us from our more primal fears and emotions. All the characters react to that in different ways. And some of the passages are either absurd set pieces (The Most Photographed Barn in America where people take pictures of taking pictures) or scathingly satirical takes on this (Hitler studies being a marvelous success, or lines like "We need an occasional catastrophe to break up the incessant bombardment of information...India remains largely untapped for disasters". Here are a few more quotes and questions I picked out

"A network of symbols has been introduced, an entire awesome technology wrested from the gods. It makes you feel like a stranger in your own dying".
1. Has technology alienated us from the real world?

"You are the sum total of your data".
2. Was the book cynical, or accepting, of this type of statement?

"They whispered to each other in the checkout lines. They became secretive, shifty, appeared to
withhold the latest and worst news from others; appeared to blend a cunning with their haste, tried to hurry out before someone questioned the extent of their purchases. Hoarders in a war. Greedy, guilty."
3. What would he have made of online shopping?

"What good is knowledge if it just floats in the air? It goes from computer to computer. It changes and grows every second of every day. But nobody actually knows anything".
4. Is there such a thing as too much information?

"We'd become part of the public stuff of media disaster"
5. Is the book right to be cynical of the media?

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