Our critics discuss Don DeLillo's White Noise.

Discussing new and classic works.
Feb. 15 2010 12:51 PM

The Audio Book Club on Don DeLillo

Our critics discuss White Noise.

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This month, the Audio Book Club discusses Don DeLillo's White Noise, on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. Generally considered DeLillo's breakout work, the novel follows a year in the life of professor Jack Gladney—famous in the academic community for creating the field of Hitler Studies—his wife, Babette, and their children from previous marriages. He suffers from a nearly crippling fear of death, a condition exacerbated by the "airborne toxic event" that occupies the second part of the novel.

In an approximately 50 minute discussion, Troy Patterson eviscerates the novel (he calls it "flagrantly bad"), Stephen Metcalf vehemently defends it, and Meghan O'Rourke moderates.

Slate's Audio Book Club now comes to you on the third Monday of every month. Our selection for February is Hilary Mantel's Man Book Prize winning novel, Wolf Hall. Look for our discussion on iTunes or on the Slatehome page on Monday, March 15. Also, become a fan of the Audio Book Club on Facebook.

You can also listen to any of our previous club meetings through our iTunes feed or by clicking on the links below. To download the MP3 file, right-click (Windows) or hold down the Control key while you click (Mac), and then use the "save" or "download" command to save the audio file to your hard drive.

Questions? Comments? Write to us at podcasts@slate.com . (E-mailers may be quoted by name unless they request otherwise.)

Stephen Metcalf is Slate's critic at large. He is working on a book about the 1980s.

Meghan O'Rourke is Slate's culture critic and an advisory editor. She was previously an editor at The New Yorker. The Long Goodbye, a memoir about her mother's death, is now out in paperback.

Troy Patterson is Slate's writer at large and writes the Gentleman Scholar column.