This week’s review was a novel I read in my first year of university, although they do give me books I both love and hate- this is one of my favourites. Not to be confused with the film ‘White Noise’, this novel is not terrifying as the film!
White Noise is the eighth novel by Don Delillo and was published in 1985. White Noise is considered as Delillo’s ‘breakout’ work as it brought him a larger audience. The Time has included him in their ‘100 Best English-Language Novels from 1923-2005’. It also won the ‘US National Book Award for Fiction’.
The novel’s protagonist Jack Gladney is a professor of Hitler studies and the plot follows the life of Gladney family, which includes Henirich, Denise, Steffie, Wilder and his current wife, Babette. The first part of White Noise is called ‘Waves and Radiation’ where the novel follows the contemporary family life, which mainly serves to introduce the characters that lead the rest of the novel. Another key character introduced, outside of family life, is Murray who links his theories to the themes in the second half of the novel.
The second part is titled ‘The Airborne Toxic Event’, which follows the family’s lifestyle after a chemical spill near their neighbourhood. Faced with his exposure to the toxic event, Gladney is confronted by his fear of death.
The final part of the novel- ‘Dylarama’ follows Gladney’s discovery that his wife, Babette had been cheating on him, in order to acquire a fictional drug called Dylar. This is revealed later on, to be an experimental drug treatment for the fear of death. Gladney continues to obsess over death, until Murray suggests a hypothesis that killing someone could perhaps alleviate this fear…
However will Gladney go as far as killing someone to cure his own fear of mortality?
Rating 4* -The first part of the novel seems to be slow moving with little plot development; however the second and third part of the novel relate to the everyday fear that the human being is surrounded by danger. The novel focuses on the lives of an ‘ordinary’ family, which is easily relatable. This postmodern novel makes you think and question the type of world we live in and the life we take for granted…