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Brief Book Review: Thanatophobia

White Noise by Don DeLillo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OK, so I came to this one kind of late, it was written way back in 1985 after all, quite a different world then, but I loved the spot-on irony and profuse dead-pan humor, the innocent sarcasm of DeLillo's beleaguered characters. I have always admired the author's diagnostic ability regarding American zeitgeist. Perhaps it budded here and bloomed with Underworld in 1997.

The White Noise of the title refers of course to so much radio and TV chatter (waves and radiation), ubiquitous consumer ads and grocery products, and the general mishegas expounded and discussed by many of his characters; but the term is also offered as a conjecture for death. What is death like, wonder university professor Jack Gladney (who spearheads a department of Hitler studies) and his fourth wife Babbette (whose "fanatical blond mop" of hair and ample size give her "a certain seriousness"), could it all be nothing but a steady hiss…

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