Do lobsters feel pain? Did Franz Kafka have a sick sense of humour? What is John Updike's deal anyway? And who won the Adult Video News' Female Performer of the Year Award the same year Gwyneth Paltrow won her Oscar? David Foster Wallace answers these questions and more in his new book of hilarious non-fiction. For this collection, David Foster Wallace immerses himself in the three-ring circus that is the presidential race in order to document one of the most vicious campaigns in recent history. Later he strolls from booth ...
Do lobsters feel pain? Did Franz Kafka have a sick sense of humour? What is John Updike's deal anyway? And who won the Adult Video News' Female Performer of the Year Award the same year Gwyneth Paltrow won her Oscar? David Foster Wallace answers these questions and more in his new book of hilarious non-fiction. For this collection, David Foster Wallace immerses himself in the three-ring circus that is the presidential race in order to document one of the most vicious campaigns in recent history. Later he strolls from booth to booth at a lobster festival in Maine and risks life and limb to get to the bottom of the lobster question. Then he wheedles his way into an L.A. radio studio, armed with tubs of chicken, to get the behind-the-scenes view of a conservative talk show featuring a host with an unnatural penchant for clothing that only looks good on the radio. In what is sure to be a much-talked-about exploration of distinctly modern subjects, one of the sharpest minds of our time delves into some of life's most delicious topics.
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David Foster Wallace proved himself an astute observer of the human condition. This book's insightful queries will be useful for any human with questions.
Dec 18, 2008
DFW exposes Adult Video Awards
Yes, despite the catchy headline David Foster Wallace really does turn his microscope on the American Video News's annual answer to the Acadamy Awards. And, then turns the same instrument on himself and on plenty of others in this display of his unique observational skills. As an added extra you also get footnotes galore (don't skip them.) You will also get the review of the Lobster Festival. This is a good way to break into the corpus of DFW if you haven't been exposed before. I loved it.
Apr 3, 2007
The Hilarious and Exasperating Mr. Wallace
I first read the essay "Consider the Lobster" in Gourmet magazine, of all places! That Gourmet would publish David Foster Wallace signals the periodical's new lively and risky editorial stance, and its publication resulted in the magazines greatest number of letters to the editor as from any other article they have published. Having read the essay, I couldn't wait to read the collection. Wallace, known more for his novels ("Infinite Jest") and experimental fiction ("Oblivion"), in his essays employs the same devices that are used (some say over-used) in his fiction - lengthy and convoluted footnotes, footnotes within footnotes. But in the essay form, the style seems to make more sense to me. In his fiction this kind of thing makes me imagine a smart wiseguy lurking behind the author's voice, telling me how smart he is. "Consider the Lobster" starts out as a high-spirited slice-of-Americana travelogue to the Maine Lobster festival and devolves into a meditation on the sentience of the American lobster, ruminations on PETA, whether or not lobsters feel pain, and so on. This is exactly the kind of thing that can get traditional Gourmet readers up in arms!
The other pieces in the collection take a look at the adult film business, American language usage, right-wing talk radio hosts, 9/11/2002, the campaign trail with Sen. John Mc Cain and reviews of Dostoyevsky, Updike and Kafka (whom is admired for "his humor"). In debt to Mark Twain, but also influenced by Pynchon, Tom Wolfe and Flannery O'Connor, David Foster Wallace is an American fictional voice to be reckoned with - brilliant, acerbic, hilarious and thought-provoking.
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