“I’m counting on you to tell me Jack.”

“Tell you what?”

“You’re the only person I know that’s educated enough to give me the answer.”

‘The answer to what?”

“Were people this dumb before television?”

[from White Noise]

Wondering how my search for a GLW [Great Living Writer] is going? I’ve read and eliminated Richard Ford [Independence Day-his hero is worthy but dull] and Jonathan Franzen [The Corrections and Freedom clever not sure if his work will stick. He also has a feces obsession]. Karen Russell is on hold till she writes more; Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood is minor; I wasn’t crazy about The Blind Assassin [which I read pre-blog] and still need to read The Handmaid’s Tale.

DeLillo; however, may be a keeper. White Noise is a great book.  The loose plot is about Jack Gladney’s extended multi-marriage family, the faculty where he teaches as a professor of Hitler Studies, and the results of an adverse environmental event. The book was published in 1985 so there’s a post-modern flavor, and the unifying modern theme so far of death as in “I will die, I will die.”

White Noise is funny-see punchline above. White Noise is absurd-the professor of Hitler Studies doesn’t speak German. White Noise can exert an emotional tug-read the scene about the crying child.

White Noise is great because Delillo has a way with words.  White Noise is great because DeLillo, quoting me, gets that relentless manipulative push on us to consume, the surreality of the white, white shopping mall and the supermarket. And he gets the ADD, fractured, multi tasked out, distracted world we live in, bombarded by data, images on subways, messages on the bottom of the screen. Imagine what he could have done, can do with the Web, Facebook, texting.  See closing excerpt below for an example of what I mean

To qualify as a LGW, DeLillo needs to have written another great book. Any suggestions for my next Delillo read?

Closing Excerpt from my favorite part of the book-the most photographed barn in America which is brilliant:

Several days later Murray asked me about a tourist attraction known as the most photographed barn in America.  We drove 22 miles into the country around Farmington.  There were meadows and apple orchards.  White fences trailed through the rolling fields.  Soon the sign started appearing.  THE MOST PHOTOGRAPHED BARN IN AMERICA.We stood near a grove of trees and watched the photographers.  Murray maintained a prolonged silence, occasionally scrawling some notes in a little book.

“No one sees the barn,” he said finally.

A long silence followed.

“Once you’ve seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn.”


“They are taking pictures of taking pictures,” he said.