Re: RARA-AVIS: DeLillo, Craig, and Bludis

From: Grimes (
Date: 24 Apr 2004

White Noise is one of the great novels of the last two decades, but most definitely not hard-boiled. It's plenty dark, but not "noir" either. It's about a professor of "Hitler Studies" at a small liberal arts college whose family is falling apart. Then a mysterious and toxic environmental accident hits.

Actually, like most of DeLillo, its less a great "novel" (in classical terms of story and character development) than an amazing piece of writing - extended brilliant and (despite the bleakness of the subject matter) hilarious jazz-like riffs on comtemporary culture high and low. DeLillo has a genius for analyzing (if not really dramatizing) the forces at work in modern society - ideological, technological, pharmacological, political
(with a focus on terrorism) and cultural (with a focus on celebrity) - and how they get inside our heads and frame the way we think. Heady stuff, often obsessive and claustrophobic, often thigh-slapping funny - but not hard-boiled.

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