White Noise won the National Book Award in 1985 and is (surely) on many lists of the best English-language novels of the twentieth century. DeLillo's satirical novel takes place in a small Midwestern college town during an airborne toxic event. The protagonist Jack Gladney is a professor (a pioneer in Hitler studies who doesn't speak German) on his 5th marriage with a house full of children. The toxic spill forces Jack and his wife Babette to confront their obsessive fear of mortality. This is a great pick for fans of Zadie Smith's White Teeth and John Barth's The Floating Opera and The End of The Road.