Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reader's Diary #1076- Don Delillo: White Noise

Getting in under the wire with my last novel of 2013; Don Delillo's White Noise.

At first I wasn't sure where Delillo was going with White Noise. He seemed to write satire like Douglas Coupland, sometimes even edgy satire like Mordecai Richler. These are good things. But there also seemed to be an awful lot of observation and ennui with little point that I could see, and that reminded me of Wes Anderson movies. This is not a good thing. Fortunately, as the theme become more and more prevalent (i.e., fear of death) the more enthralled I became. I think Delillo makes a good point in pointing out how this fear has pervaded our society and psyches. Though, when I say "our," I don't really include myself. Not really a fault with the book, but Delillo really only seems to offer one alternative to being afraid of death:  not being afraid of death. However, isn't the true opposite being afraid of immortality? I'm not suicidal, nor do I think I'm the only one with this outlook, but I certainly wouldn't want to live forever. Surely there's some comfort in an ending. The only time this third view is even hinted at in White Noise is when Jack (the protagonist) and his wife argue that they want to die first, as they wouldn't want to go on without the other.

Despite that, I grew to love White Noise and its provocative messages.

1 comment:

Eric P said...

What I thought was particularly good is that how much of what goes on in modern society is "white noise" to keep us distracted from this fear of death. This may be particularly prevalent in urban societies where true religiosity has been in decline.

I liked the novel a lot when I read it, but that was about 20 years ago. There's actually a critical edition with a bunch of essays tagged on at the end, and I decided to pick this up to replace my yellowing copy. Something to try to squeeze in in 2014.