01 September 2011

White Noise

White Noise by Don DeLillo is (…I think…) a caricature of 1980s suburban America. The protagonist, Jack Gladney, is head of the department of Hitler Studies at his small-town college, and the book follows the misadventures of his family (Jack, his wife Babette, and their many children by previous marriages) as an "Airborne Toxic Event" forces an evacuation, and Jack tries to track down the drug that his wife is secretly taking.

What is so entertaining about White Noise is the juxtaposition of the characters' hilariously misinformed and inane dialogues, and the seriousness with which they seem to take everything, no matter how inconsequential.

Very funny, though in an unsettling way (in the year 2011): the setting of the book is by now very clearly not our generation. I feel like we can point and laugh because we left that era behind… right, guys?

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