Reflections: White Noise
Amidst the hubbub of family, White Noise satirizes the American schizophrenia towards chemicals: in a hanging cloud, they are the cause of death. In small white, well-engineered pills, they are the solution to, if not death, at least man's fear of it. None of the characters except Jack's colleague, Murray, can really grasp that death is a natural phenomenon, as is man's fear of it. Unfortunately, the satire exists more in tone than content, thus putting Delillo at risk of the same criticisms as Jack, who invented Hitler Studies by, it seems, gaining weight and wearing sunglasses. Delillo's insights seem as Jack's: questionable in authority as he doesn't really speak the language.
While an interesting and entertaining read, rendered almost necessary by the long-standing cultural importance of Don Delillo, the novel wears on one. Simply put: it tries too hard. Like its characters, it mistakes surface for substance.
Posted by Mille Feuille