White Noise25 Mar 2015
This book is very much of its time. Although it is obsessed with a universal and timeless topic: death, it hardly felt universal or timeless. This is book is particularly American, particularly modern, particularly rich, particularly white, particularly cerebral, particularly . . . well you get the point. Having said that, although it is very clearly situated in a specific time and place, it gets a lot of things right about that time and place. Written in 1985, White Noise’s descriptions of families, relationships between listless people and their professions, descriptions about Americans’ obsessions, American life are all pretty applicable to today. This last sentence might sound like it contradicts the one before it, but I don’t think this book would describe an America 20 years before it or America 20 years from now.
Delillo is funny. In much the way David Foster Wallace is funny, or Jonathan Franzen is funny. But unlike DFW, Franzen and other contemporaries of Delillo, I wished he wasn’t so obsessed with death. What is death, anyway, its just something that happens at the end of life. There’s so much other stuff going on in life to obsess over.