White Noise

Toxic air event hits the idyllic college town where Jack Gladney teaches Hitler studies and is covertly learning German (the shame of being a non-German speaking Hitler prof!). Jack lives with 3rd or 4th wife Babette, who is covertly taking Dylar, a experimental drug to fight fear of death. They live with sons and daughters from previous marriages, a brood including Heinrich (moody, hits his stride when the town has the apocalyptic event), Steffie, Denise (worried about her mom’s drug consumption), Wilder (youngest child who is not yet speaking, who rides his tricycle across the highway then topples into a pond and is rescued by a passing motorist). One of my favorite characters was Murray, the visiting professor who attempts to create an Elvis studies department at the college, taking copious notes at the supermarket, living in a rooming house, hitting on Jack’s wife openly in front of Jack. The passing of the pleasure baton between Jack and Babette, wanting to be sure that the other is receiving maximum pleasure. Babette sleeping with the drug manufacturer to receive her doses, Jack hunting this man down and shooting him in his motel room, then being shot in the hand after he places the gun in the victim’s hand but he’s not dead. Evacuation to the Boy Scout Camp from the toxic air event. Phantom symptoms that everyone experiences after they hear about (clammy hands, nausea, dejavu).
A buzzing, coherent, layered and complex story. Not incomprehensible as some had warned me, the pages did not devolve into white noise.
Finished on the plane, which was a bit uncomfortable with the discussion of plane crashes.