I read it just a week ago. Greatly enjoyed it. So much so that I got Mao II and Underworld too. It'll be a while before I read those though, as I just started Anna Karenina a few weeks ago, and like to alternate in terms of authors, as to avoid fatigue. I hear that Mao II and Libra are supposedly even better than White Noise, so I am looking forward to reading them too at some point.
I thought the criticism of consumerism was dated in White Noise. They way he absurdly inserted advert-style sentences in scenes was funny, but I've seen it before. I think that's part of the trouble when contemporary readers read influential works from the past. Because they were influential, they can be construed as trite, as what they did influenced others to do the same. I once read an anon here assert that Churchill said nothing but truisms, but part of the reason they're considered truisms today is probably that they were so influential at the time that they were adopted wholeheartedly into our cultural consciousness, thus making them appear trite to modern observers. Same shit with DeLillo and consumerism.
Apart from being very, very funny, the thing I found particularly brilliant with White Noise was how it dealt with an overload of information without any deeper meaning to it. This is especially apparent in the dialogue, which often seems to jump from fact to fact without any cohesive narrative or point. I read some criticism of White Nosie centered on the assertion that the dialogue was unrealistic and artificial, but I think that criticism misses the point entirely. It's a great commentary on the postmodern condition, on simulacra and hyperreality as mediated by TV in this case. In this reading, the advertisment-style sentences that are sometimes inserted seem more profound, I think.
This theme didn't seem as dated as the criticism of consumerism, as information overload without deeper meaning is still very relevant today, difference being that today it is primarily conveyed through the internet rather than TV.
Some great background reading for a deeper understanding of White Noise would be Simulacra and Simulation by Baudrillard and Society of the Spectacle by Debord. I thought the novel to be much more profound when viewed through the lens of these works.
Heinrich was a pretty amazing character too - he managed to be both utterly insufferable and kind of funny at the same time. That's a somewhat rare feat.
There's this line from Julius Caesar by Shakespeare that pretty much encapsulates /lit/ and its entire attitude:
>But I fear him not. Yet if my name were liable to fear, I do not know the man I should avoid So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much. He is a great observer, and he looks Quite through the deeds of men. He loves no plays, As thou dost, Antony. He hears no music. Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort As if he mocked himself and scorned his spirit That could be moved to smile at anything. Such men as he be never at heart’s ease Whiles they behold a greater than themselves,
The only guiding ideology of /lit/ is extreme contrarianism. As soon as you descend so much as to actually like something, you devalue yourself in the mind of an insecure e/lit/ist. Hence the hate and contrarianism.
It's a story about a humanities professor, so, it was boring. This is the greatest sin a novel can commit, in my eyes. I could only read 80 pages. Like I said once during the last ~5 times this novel has been discussed in the past month, a novel can only ever be as interesting as the person who writes it.
>a novel can only ever be as interesting as the person who writes it.
I see no reason to accept this at face value, and I can think of a few examples that seem to suggest otherwise. Pessoa, for example. Boring as fuck. The Book of Disquiet is still supremely beautiful and not at all uninteresting.
I just finished last week and loved it. The way he uses repetition especially during the airborne toxic event chapter dealing with deja vu w especially great. I've read Mao II and didn't really care for our too much. It was a bit more cryptic in its form and style but it's quite easy to figure out, however that's one thing I like about White Noise was that it was very blunt and lots about dating what it needed to say. Point Omega however is very good and really makes use of structure and form the way Delilo does so well when it's right
>>7595677 Just about everything. Every dialogue was forced, carried no insight, characters were about as human as dead fish, I tipped my fedora a number of times. If someone gave me quotes from Ready Player One and White Noise I don't think I'd be able to tell the difference. Stylistically it was basic, attempts at humor were cringeworthy. Nothing in the book is worthy of praise.
>>7595811 My English prof told warned me Libra and Mao II would be dry, and he was right. He also told me ratners star and WN and Underworld were the masterpieces, so I'm assuming he'll be right about that. I've just finished the Angel Esmeralda, shit was breathtaking, one of my fav collections of short stories I've read
>>7595702 How can Branch forget the contradictions and discrepancies? These are the soul of a wayward tale. One of the first documents he examined was the medical report on Pfc. Oswald's self-inflicted gunshot wound. In on sentence the weapon is described as 45-caliber. In the next sentence it is 22-caliber. Facts are lonely things. Branch has seen how pathos comes to cling to the firmest facts. Oswald's eyes are gray, they are blue, the are brown. He is five feet nine, five feet ten, five feet eleven. He is right-handed, he is left-handed. He drives a car, he does not. He is a crack shot and a dud. Branch has support for all these propositions in eyewitness testimony and commission exhibits. Oswald even looks like different people from one photograph to the next. He is solid, frail, thin-lipped, broad-featured, extroverted, shy and bank-clerkish, all, with the columned neck of a fullback. He looks like everybody. In two photos taken in the military he is a grim killer and a baby-face hero. In another photo he sits in profile with a group of fellow Marines on a rattan mat under palm trees. Four or five men face the camera. They all look like Oswald. Branch thinks they look more like Oswald than the figure on the profile, officially identifying him.
>>7595868 >Dialogue was forced That was actually my first thought upon reading The Names, but that book is about a bunch of rich expats with PhDs. and it was fucking amazing. So I'm assuming similarly WN being about a humanities prof will be the same with the dialogue and you just have low quality thoughts
>>7596125 The Oswald shadings, the multiple images, the split perceptions - eye color, weapons caliber - these seem a foreboding of what is to come. The endless fact-rubble of the investigations. How many shots, how many gunmen, how many directions? Powerful events breed their own network of inconsistencies. The simple facts elude authentication. How many wounds on the President's body? What are the size and shape of the wounds? The multiple Oswald reappears. Isn't that *him* in a photograph of a crowd of people on the front steps of the Book Depository just as the shooting begins? A startling likeness, Branch concedes. He concedes everything. He questions everything, including the basic suppositions we make about our world of light and shadow, solid objects and ordinary sounds, and our ability to measure such things, to determine weight, mass and direction, to see things as they are, recall them clearly, be able to say what happened. He takes refuge in his notes. The notes are becoming an end in themselves. Branch has decided it is premature to make a serious effort to turn these notes into coherent history. Maybe it will always be premature. Because the data keeps coming. Because new lives enter the record all the time. The past is changing as he writes.
>>7596132 WN was hardly the first novel about humanities professor for me and 2666 and stoner were both infinitely better. It's about a humanities professor who talks the same as every other character in the fucking book and it's unnatural as fuck and unlike many other surreal novels it does it without grace, style or purpose. It's like a shit version of Kafka or Dick.
IMHO it really didn't age well - this whole "society is overwhelming, it's a flood of information (in this case TV), here's a satire about that" has been done a million times since then, and in my case I've read all these other follow-ups before I read White Noise.
The follow-ups of course improved on the theme and updated it, so by the time I got to WN to me the theme was done to death
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