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Witte ruis (1985)

door Don DeLillo

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Classic Literature. Fiction. Literature. HTML:Now a Netflix film!
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… (meer)
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One of DeLillo's best. ( )
  ben_r47 | Feb 22, 2024 |
White Noise - 1: a constant background noise especially one that drowns out other sounds. 2: meaningless or distracting commotion, hubbub, or chatter.

Both definitions are themes played out in Don DeLillo’s novel: the constant background noise in this instance, the excessive and obsessive fear of death felt by the protagonist Jack Gladney and his wife; the meaningless or disturbing commotion, America in the late 80s/ early 90s coming to terms with modern society’s newest influences: supermarkets, television, educational expertise, scientific and medical advancements and the such like.

Despite themes of mortality and death, White Noise is surprisingly a comic novel (albeit a dark one). We are flies on the wall of a typical, atypical American family unit. Jack and Babette and their various children from a series of previously failed marriages bungle through life together. As the story progresses, the spectres of death and modernity begin to flavour domestic life and husband and wife become more and more unhinged.

There is a very Vonnegutian feel to the novel: despite the dramatic events they face, their responses are deadpan and passive - as the novel progresses we gather more and more evidence that DeLillo's characters are not the good parents, responsible citizens or self-aware individuals we assume they are. Numerous failed marriages (twice to the same person) professorships in Hitler studies, couples copies of Mein Kampf, obsessive concerns with who will die first and trips/ harassment of doctors for crying babies and psychosomatic symptoms could perhaps be considered disturbing, but are in fact humorous in their ridiculousness - especially complemented in the way they are quite normal and serious concerns to the characters. The fears, idiosyncrasies and psychosis’s continue to surface and Jack and Babette slowly unravel.

The book works because mortality is an element of the human condition, one which we all have perhaps pondered at points in our lives and hence it is easy to empathise with the Gladneys. They are mirrors for us to take a self-depreciatory laugh at ourselves and meditate and experience our transience vicariously. White Noise is an entertaining and interesting novel rich with potential interpretation and discussion - one I would've liked to buddy read due to the amount of 'stuff' to chew on. I'm happy with my first DeLillo read and look forward to his others which I have on the shelves, namely Underworld, The Names and Libra. ( )
  Dzaowan | Feb 15, 2024 |
I reread this in anticipation the Noah Baumbach film. My keenness for the that has diminished a bit because for the second time in a week I have come back to a text I was blown away by on a first reading to find it a pale shadow of the form in my mind. As with Cunningham's The Hours I can absolutely appreciate the novelty and the daring which created such an initial impact but it feels now both dated and overiterated - to death almost. I found myself thinking that this is the sort of thing JG Ballard could have produced if he'd had a sense of humour and anything approaching stylistic panache. Oh well. (3) ( )
  djh_1962 | Jan 7, 2024 |
A richly and originally written novel about the uncertainties in life that worry us. From the near-universal like mortality and keeping our kids safe, to the modern concerns of chemicals and rampant consumerism, there are a lot of anxieties wrapped in the characters' lives, and it is sometimes uncomfortable how much time they spend obsessing about each one. I would like to have seen a little more color in the lives of the children themselves, who felt like almost complete characters but deserved a little more focus. Since its publication, I think this novel still keeps a current feel that could be eminently relatable in 2023. ( )
  jonerthon | Dec 24, 2023 |
ya know, I had to read this book for class. At first, I thought it was deep and meaningful. I really liked the writing, I thought it was edgy, and it had something surreal and kind of post-modern about it that I thought was really unique. And then, at about page 165, I realized that the book was so meaningful and deep, that it actually just circled back to being stupid. It is a unique read, yes, but there are plenty of other books that have done something similar and better. I know I'd been feeling like the book was ridiculous for a while, and then I got to the line that more or less said, "Is a person dead if they drown?" and I was done with it at that point. Like there is only so much pondering the meaning of death a person can do before its just stupid. Although, maybe that was the point all along. I do not recommend reading this book, and I have a weird feeling my professor was just screwing with my class by assigning it. ( )
  annahuber13 | Nov 4, 2023 |
1-5 van 170 worden getoond (volgende | toon alle)
The book is so funny, so mysterious, so right, so disturbing … and yet so enjoyable it has somehow survived being cut open for twenty-five years by critics and post-grads. All of that theoretical poking and prodding, all of that po-mo-simulacra-ambiguity vivisection can’t touch the thrill of reading it
 
''White Noise,'' his eighth novel, is the story of a college professor and his family whose small Midwestern town is evacuated after an industrial accident. In light of the recent Union Carbide disaster in India that killed over 2,000 and injured thousands more, ''White Noise'' seems all the more timely and frightening - precisely because of its totally American concerns, its rendering of a particularly American numbness.
 
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"The greater the scientific advance, the more primitive the fear". Jack to Babette when talking about genetically engineered micro-organisms that would digest the 'airborne toxic event'.
"The airborne toxic event is a horrifying thing. Our fear is enormous. Even if there hasn't been great loss of life, don't we deserve some attention for our suffering, our human worry, our terror? Isn't fear news?" Television carrying man's speech when the family is stranded in Iron City.
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Classic Literature. Fiction. Literature. HTML:Now a Netflix film!
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

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