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Leonard Orr, Don DeLillo’s White Noise

My second foray into the Continuum Contemporaries series of Continuum Books (on which more to come): I had already picked up the brilliant and neatly-packed guide to Underworld, written by DeLillo scholar John Duvall.

It is obvious that Underworld and White Noise are wildly different novels in terms of scope, complexity and sheer volume, and while any reading of the former is necessarily partial, Leonard Orr was able to analyze in depth every aspect of DeLillo’s ‘breakthrough’ novel.
Following a brief overview of the writer’s career before-and-after WN, Orr delves into every single theme: Family; Death and Fear; Commmodities, Consumerism, Commercial, Waste; White Noise; American Environments; Hitler and Fascism; Media and Technology; Simulacra.
By the end you’ll have discovered that White Noise is much more complex than you’d have thought…

As I said I’m already familiar with this series of literary guides, always well-made and very resourceful. Despite the small size (a distinctive feature of the imprint) these guides are very neatly tailored and packed with brilliant, no-nonsense academical criticism.
The only inconvenience is that the less-than-100-pages limit often forces the writer to mention other essays in passing; and while this is obviously standard practice in any critical work, here it becomes at times little more than a hyperlink.

On Continuum Books
I discovered this publisher by sheer chance, while looking for academic texts on Underworld (see above). Meanwhile I stumbled, on a complete tangent & again by a fortuitous mishap which I’ll spare you, on the fantastic, habit-inducing 33⅓ series of musical guides. I mean, folks, take a look at their catalogue:
And then be ready to find out that that was just a small portion of Continuum Books HUGE output:
I discovered their New Series on Contemporary North American Fiction: three major works by a single author, from 1990 onward, analyzed at once. Again, a curious format coupled with razor-sharp academic research and top-tier source material.
They’ve recently published one on “DeLillo. Mao II, Underworld, Falling Man”.

Continuum was nominated Independent Publisher of the Year 2011 by the Independent Publishers Guild. There you go.