David Foster Wallace appeared to be trying to write himself out of nihilistic depression, and ultimately failing. Infinite Jest is largely about the corrosive effects of addiction on meaning-making; and his unfinished final work The Pale King takes place inside an IRS office, that is, the most boring and meaningless place conceivable.
Anyway, White Noise is thematically timely and one of the best novels of the late 20th century according to Harold Bloom, who placed it in the tradition of "American comic apocalypses" that includes Melville's The Confidence Man and Thomas Pynchon's Crying of Lot 49. (I guess I'd put Infinite Jest and the work of Philip K Dick in that bucket as well). And it's due to be turned into a movie this year.
book, not just any book but the defining novel of a certain time and sensibility. I used to live in the area of Boston (Allston/Brighton) where the Enfield Tennis Academy was supposed to be, and many other of my Boston haunts appear, including the MIT Student Center (“gutted with C4 during the so-called MIT Language Riots of twelve years past”).
One central topic of the book is addiction and hence agency The title refers to a video that causes anybody who watches it to lose interest in anything besides the video itself.
The literary descendent of Holden Caulfield is Hal Incandenza of the quintessential postmodern novel Infinite Jest. There, the need to question authenticity has grown into a pervasive irony and basically destroyed any ability to communicate whatsoever.