Consider the Lobster and Other Essays Epub ¶ Lobster

Consider the Lobster and Other Essays Epub ¶ Lobster

Consider the Lobster and Other Essays [Reading] ➷ Consider the Lobster and Other Essays ➭ David Foster Wallace – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk Do lobsters feel pain Did Franz Kafka have a funny bone What is John Updike s deal, anyway And what happens when adult video starlets meet their fans in person David Foster Wallace answers these quest Do lobsters feel pain Did Franz Lobster and MOBI ò Kafka have a funny bone What is John Updike s deal, anyway And what happens when adult video starlets meet their fans in person David Foster Wallace answers these questions and in essays that are also enthralling narrative adventures Whether covering the three ring circus of a vicious presidential race, plunging into the wars between dictionary writers, or confronting Consider the PDF/EPUB ² the World s Largest Lobster Cooker at the annual Maine Lobster Festival, Wallace projects a quality of thought that is uniquely his and a voice as powerful and distinct as any in American lettersContains Big Red Son, Certainly the End of Something or Other, One Would Sort of Have to Think, Some Remarks on Kafka s Funniness from Which Probably Not Enough Has Been Removed, Authority the Lobster and MOBI í and American Usage, The View from Mrs Thompson s, How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart, Up, Simba, Consider the Lobster, Joseph Frank s Dostoevsky and Host.


10 thoughts on “Consider the Lobster and Other Essays

  1. David David says:

    Full disclosure I have a major intellectual crush on David Foster Wallace Yes, yes, I know all about his weaknesses the digressions, the rampant footnote abuse, the flaunting of his amazing erudition, the mess that is Infinite Jest I know all this, and I don t care Because when he is in top form, there s nobody else I would rather read The man is hilarious I think he s a mensch, and I don t believe he parades his erudition just to prove how smart he is I think he can t help himself Full disclosure I have a major intellectual crush on David Foster Wallace Yes, yes, I know all about his weaknesses the digressions, the rampant footnote abuse, the flaunting of his amazing erudition, the mess that is Infinite Jest I know all this, and I don t care Because when he is in top form, there s nobody else I would rather read The man is hilarious I think he s a mensch, and I don t believe he parades his erudition just to prove how smart he is I think he can t help himself it s a consequence of his wide ranging curiosity At heart he s a geek, but a charming, hyper articulate geek Who is almost frighteningly smart.The pieces in Consider the Lobster have appeared previously in Rolling Stone, The Atlantic Monthly, the New York Observer, the Philadelphia Enquirer, Harper s, Gourmet, and Premiere magazines Among them are short meditations on Updike s Toward the end of Time , on Dostoyevsky, on Kafka s humor, and on the breathtakingly insipid autobiography of tennis player Tracy Austin An intermediate length piece describes Foster Wallace s eminently sane reaction to the attacks of September 11th Each of these shorter essays is interesting, but the meat and potatoes of the book is in the remaining five, considerably longer, pieces They are Big Red Son a report on the 1998 Adult Video News awards the Oscars of porn in Las Vegas.Consider the Lobster a report on a visit to the annual Maine Lobster Festival for Gourmet magazine.Host a report on conservative talk radio, based on extensive interviews conducted with John Ziegler, host of Live and Local on Southern California s KFI.Up Simba an account of seven days on the campaign trail with John McCain in his 2000 presidential bid for Rolling Stone.Authority and American Usage a review of Bryan Garner s A Dictionary of Modern American Usage , which serves as a springboard for a terrific exegesis of usage questions and controversies.Here s what I like about David Foster Wallace s writing I know of nobody else who writes as thoughtfully and intelligently That he manages to write so informatively, with humor and genuine wit, on almost any subject under the sun is mind blowing it s also why I am willing to forgive his occasional stylistic excesses Can you spell footnote You may not have a strong interest in lobsters or pornography, but the essays in question are terrific The reporting on Ziegler and McCain is amazingly good, heartbreakingly so, because it makes the relative shallowness of most reporting painfully evident Finally, the article on usage is a tour de force when it first appeared in Harper s, upon finishing it, I was immediately moved to go online and order a copy of Garner s book which is just as good as DFW promised How can you not enjoy an essay that begins as followsDid you know that probing the seamy underbelly of US lexicography reveals ideological strife and controversy and intrigue and nastiness and fervor on a near Lewinskian scale several other rhetorical questions Did you know that US lexicography even had a seamy underbellyAnd which later contains sentences such asTeachers who do this are dumb ,This argument is not quite the barrel of drugged trout that Methodological Descriptivism was, but it s still vulnerable to objectionsand my personal favoriteThis is so stupid it practically drools Not everyone will give it 5 stars, but I do


  2. Riku Sayuj Riku Sayuj says:

    Consider The EssayThis is a fine collection of essays It does not seem to be put together following any particular collective logic, but all the essays seem to be good advertisements to DFW s intuitively imaginative, explorative and curious writing method Would need to readof DFW s essays to be able to comment on the logic of this particular set of essays inhabiting the same book It is, however, vintage DFW and hence cannot be rated below 5 stars, even if a couple of essays were so so Consider The EssayThis is a fine collection of essays It does not seem to be put together following any particular collective logic, but all the essays seem to be good advertisements to DFW s intuitively imaginative, explorative and curious writing method Would need to readof DFW s essays to be able to comment on the logic of this particular set of essays inhabiting the same book It is, however, vintage DFW and hence cannot be rated below 5 stars, even if a couple of essays were so so InterpolationFor practical purposes, everyone knows what an essay or a book review is As usual, though, there s muchto know than most of us care about it s all a matter of what your interests areThe first extremely explicit essay on an inside look into the Porn industry turned this reviewer off slightly being the prude that I am but from then on it was increasingly easy to figure why so many of my most respected friends have such an intellectual crush on DFW I have too now, I guess Or maybe it is puppy love Hard to know for sure IJ is such a bad place to first encounter DFW, he is all infinite there with no restrictions on his interpolative imagination , the finite essays are so muchfun, accessible and lovable and most importantly, imitable at least in intent, if not in style The biggest crush inducer, however, is how many of DFW s sentences and ideas you actually want to remember and use for yourself Therein lies the most important reason to fall in love he is really placing himself at a level that you can aspire towards Not too difficult, not too complex, but deliciously complex enough to stretch comprehension and understanding It is not terribly difficult to fall in love from there InterpolationThis reviewer acknowledges that there seems to be some, umm, personal stuff getting worked out here but the stuff is, umm, germane. As you get into the essays, you will find that the jungle of footnotes and the sub foot notes and sub sub well no point in scaring off potential readers will soon become a veritable tangle Not to mention the thicket of interpolations interpolation upon interpolation upon interpolation, ad infinitum I had read a New York Times piece with a great quote from DFW in reference to his endnotes Most poetry is written to ride on the breath, and getting to hear the poet read is kind of a revelation and makes the poetryalive But with certain literary narrative writers like me, we want the writing to sound like a brain voice, like the sound of the voice inside of the head, and the brain voice is faster, is absent any breath, and it holds together grammatically rather than sonically InterpolationNot sure if this applies to his fiction as well but, if you happen to miss the footnotes, you would miss half the fun, not to mention half the book. This reviewer was never able to figure out if DFW is showing off or if he just couldn t help being a genius It was a source of constant amazement to observe how DFW uses a review or any given essay to explore every pet topic imaginable It was evenamazing to imagine how his editors let him do that.In illustration of this amazement For it turned out that theinteresting a happenstance was, thetime and page space it took to make sense of it, or, if it made no sense, to describe what it was and explain why it didn t make sense but was interesting anyway if viewed in a certain context that then itself had to be described, and so on With the end result being that the actual document delivered per contract to Rolling Stone magazine turned out to be longer andcomplicated than they d asked for Quite a bit longer, actually In fact the article s editor pointed out that running the whole thing would take up most of Rolling Stone s text space and might even cut into the percentage of the magazine reserved for advertisements, which obviously would not do. Surely, you get the drift InterpolationOn DFW David Foster Wallace is a pretty long name David, Foster or Wallace, however, by themselves wouldn t be enough to indicate who you are referring to Hence it has to be the whole name David Foster Wallace, which being too long is DFW the best option for fans who want to talk about DFW often enough. In sum, give DFW any topic and he will conjure out of it the angst of the modern condition, link it with some fundamental disconnect and manage to be completely non pretentious and genuine while doing that He suspends your inner cynic That is genius, whatever else you might say


  3. MJ Nicholls MJ Nicholls says:

    Outstanding The closest one can get to triple penetration in essay form.Each one is a stunner, from the grotesquerie of the Adult Video Awards in Big Red Son, the magniloquent ass handing of John Updike, the sublime pedantry of the modern classic Authority and American Usage, the obsessive campaign chronicling of Up, Simba, to the staggeringly researched meta bubbling John Ziegler profile Host All the essays succeed at tying razor sharp exegeses of American culture to a holy clarity of Outstanding The closest one can get to triple penetration in essay form.Each one is a stunner, from the grotesquerie of the Adult Video Awards in Big Red Son, the magniloquent ass handing of John Updike, the sublime pedantry of the modern classic Authority and American Usage, the obsessive campaign chronicling of Up, Simba, to the staggeringly researched meta bubbling John Ziegler profile Host All the essays succeed at tying razor sharp exegeses of American culture to a holy clarity of insight, showing how acutely attuned to the nuances of the human mind Mr Wallace was Even among the shorter pieces here the Bergman like silence of The View From Mrs Thompson s to the dazzling dissection of Dostoevsky, this is super stellar belles lettrism from outer space And to top it all, I now feel deeply for lobsters


  4. B0nnie B0nnie says:

    What can I say Another brilliant set of essays.1 Big Red Son at the AVN Adult Video News Awards An insightful and amusing look at the porn industry For a regular civilian male, hanging out in a hotel suite with porn starlets is a tense and emotionally convolved affair There is, first, the matter of having seen the various intimate activities and anatomical parts of these starlets in videos heretofore and thus weirdly feeling shy about meeting them But there is also a complex erotic t What can I say Another brilliant set of essays.1 Big Red Son at the AVN Adult Video News Awards An insightful and amusing look at the porn industry For a regular civilian male, hanging out in a hotel suite with porn starlets is a tense and emotionally convolved affair There is, first, the matter of having seen the various intimate activities and anatomical parts of these starlets in videos heretofore and thus weirdly feeling shy about meeting them But there is also a complex erotic tension Because porn films worlds are so sexualized, with everybody seemingly teetering right on the edge of coitus all the time and it taking only the slightest nudge or excuse a stalled elevator, an unlocked door, a cocked eyebrow, a firm handshake to send everyone tumbling into a tangled mass of limbs and orifices, there s a bizarre unconscious expectation dread hope that this is what might happen in Max Hardcore s hotel room Yr corresps here find it impossible to overemphasize the fact that this is a delusion In fact, of course, the unconscious expectation dread hope makes nosense than it would make to be hanging out with doctors at a medical convention and to expect that at the slightest provocation everyone in the room would tumble into a frenzy of MRIs and epidurals 2 Certainly the End Of Something Or Other, One Would Sort Of Have To Think book review, John Updike s Toward the End of Time Here is the upshot, although Wallace is a fan,Toward the End of Time concerns an extremely erudite, successful, narcissistic, and sex obsessed retired guy who s keeping a one year journal in which he explores the apocalyptic prospect of his own death.Toward the End of Time is also, of the let s say two dozen Updike books I ve read, far and away the worst, a novel so clunky and self indulgent that it s hard to believe the author let it be published in this kind of shape.3 Some Remarks on Kafka s Funniness From Which Probably Not Enough Has Been Removed It s not that students don t get Kafka s humor but that we ve taught them to see humor as something you get the same way we ve taught them that a self is something you just have No wonder they cannot appreciate the really central Kafka joke that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle That our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home It s hard to put into words, up at the blackboard, believe me You can tell them that maybe it s good they don t get Kafka You can ask them to imagine his stories as all about a kind of door To envision us approaching and pounding on this door, increasingly hard, pounding and pounding, not just wanting admission but needing it we don t know what it is but we can feel it, this total desperation to enter, pounding and ramming and kicking That, finally, the door opens and it opens outward we ve been inside what we wanted all along Das ist komisch.4 Authority and American UsageLove, and do what you will as applied to grammar This is a very complicated review of A Dictionary of Modern American Usage by Bryan Garner.Bryan Garner is a genius because he just about completely resolves the Usage Wars problem of Authority The book s solution is both semantic and rhetorical 5 The View From Mrs Thompson sLOCATION BLOOMINGTON, ILLINOISDATES 11 13 SEPTEMBER 2001SUBJECT OBVIOUS What these Bloomington ladies are, or start to seem to me, is innocent There is what would strike many Americans as a marked, startling lack of cynicism in the room It does not, for instance, occur to anyone here to remark on how it s maybe a little odd that all three network anchors are in shirtsleeves, or to consider the possibility that Dan Rather s hair s being mussed might not be wholly accidental, or that the constant rerunning of horrific footage might not be just in case some viewers were only now tuning in and hadn t seen it yet None of the ladies seem to notice the president s odd little lightless eyes appear to get closer and closer together throughout his taped address, nor that some of his lines sound almost plagiaristically identical to those uttered by Bruce Willis as a right wing wacko, recall in The Siege a couple years back Nor that at least some of the sheer weirdness of watching the Horror unfold has been how closely various shots and scenes have mirrored the plots of everything from Die Hard I III to Air Force One Nobody s near hip enough to lodge the sick and obvious po mo complaint We ve Seen This Before Instead, what they do is all sit together and feel really bad, and pray No one in Mrs Thompson s crew would ever be so nauseous as to try to get everybody to pray aloud or form a prayer circle, but you can still tell what they re all doing.6 How Tracy Austin Broke My HeartA review of the Tracy Austin autobiography, Beyond Center Court My Story The book is bad, but hey,maybe we automatically expect people who are geniuses as athletes to be geniuses also as speakers and writers, to be articulate, perceptive, truthful, profound If it s just that we naively expect geniuses in motion to be also geniuses in reflection, then their failure to be that shouldn t really seem any crueler ordisillusioning than Kant s glass jaw or Eliot s inability to hit the curve 7 Up, SimbaWith John McCain on his campaign bus in 2000 He gives a mini biography of McCain s experience as a POW with gruesome detail, and his refusal to be released without the other POWs, This gives him the moral authority both to utter lines about causes beyond self interest and to expect us, even in this age of spin and lawyerly cunning, to believe he means them And yes, literally moral authority, that old clich , like so many other clich s service, honor, duty that have become now just mostly words, slogans invoked by men in nice suits who want something from us 8 Consider the LobsterWallace covers the Maine Lobster Festival, 2003 Is it all right to boil a sentient creature alive just for our gustatory pleasure Lobsters don t have much in the way of eyesight or hearing, but they do have an exquisite tactile sense, one facilitated by hundreds of thousands of tiny hairs that protrude through their carapace Thus it is, in the words of T M Prudden s industry classic About Lobster, that although encased in what seems a solid, impenetrable armor, the lobster can receive stimuli and impressions from without as readily as if it possessed a soft and delicate skin And lobsters do have nociceptors, as well as invertebrate versions of the prostaglandins and major neurotransmitters via which our own brains register pain.9 Joseph Frank s Dostoevsky A review of Joseph Frank s five volume Dostoevsky The thing about Dostoevsky s characters is that they are alive By which I don t just mean that they re successfully realized or developed or rounded The best of them live inside us, forever, once we ve met them Recall the proud and pathetic Raskolnikov, the naive Devushkin, the beautiful and damned Nastasya of The Idiot, the fawning Lebyedev and spiderish Ippolit of the same novel CP s ingenious maverick detective Porfiry Petrovich without whom there would probably be no commercial crime fiction w eccentrically brilliant cops Marmeladov, the hideous and pitiful sot or the vain and noble roulette addict Aleksey Ivanovich of The Gambler the gold hearted prostitutes Sonya and Liza the cynically innocent Aglaia or the unbelievably repellent Smerdyakov, that living engine of slimy resentment in whom I personally see parts of myself I can barely stand to look at or the idealized and all too human Myshkin and Alyosha, the doomed human Christ and triumphant child pilgrim, respectively These and so many other FMD creatures are alive retain what Frank calls their immense vitality not because they re just skillfully drawn types or facets of human beings but because, acting within plausible and morally compelling plots, they dramatize the profoundest parts of all humans, the parts most conflicted, most serious the ones with the most at stake Plus, without ever ceasing to be 3 D individuals, Dostoevsky s characters manage to embody whole ideologies and philosophies of life Raskolnikov the rational egoism of the 1860s intelligentsia, Myshkin mystical Christian love, the Underground Man the influence of European positivism on the Russian character, Ippolit the individual will raging against death s inevitability, Aleksey the perversion of Slavophilic pride in the face of European decadence, and so on and so forth.The thrust here is that Dostoevsky wrote fiction about the stuff that s really important He wrote fiction about identity, moral value, death, will, sexual vs spiritual love, greed, freedom, obsession, reason, faith, suicide And he did it without ever reducing his characters to mouthpieces or his books to tracts His concern was always what it is to be a human being that is, how to be an actual person, someone whose life is informed by values and principles, instead of just an especially shrewd kind of self preserving animal.10 Host Read it here An article on John Ziegler and talk radio Whatever the social effects of talk radio or the partisan agendas of certain hosts, it is a fallacy that political talk radio is motivated by ideology It is not Political talk radio is a business, and it is motivated by revenue The conservatism that dominates today s AM airwaves does so because it generates high Arbitron ratings, high ad rates, and maximum profits.Wallace discusses Consider the Lobster with interviewer Michael Silverblatt.http youtu.be IhCfHSVzTkI


  5. Michael Michael says:

    This book reminds me why I love DFW The erudition, humility, self consciousness, and truth seeking are all on fine display here, as is the extremely personal nature of his prose He s constantly revealing himself while writing about others, even when such revelations are less than flattering, and is openly unsure about the worthiness of such self revelation, and is also unsure whether this very open unsureness about the worthiness of his self revelation is itself another layer of unworthy self This book reminds me why I love DFW The erudition, humility, self consciousness, and truth seeking are all on fine display here, as is the extremely personal nature of his prose He s constantly revealing himself while writing about others, even when such revelations are less than flattering, and is openly unsure about the worthiness of such self revelation, and is also unsure whether this very open unsureness about the worthiness of his self revelation is itself another layer of unworthy self revelation, as in look at and admire me because I reveal all my inner faults Which is another way of saying what he himself says in one of these essays that there s no such thing as true altruism, because even when you re being altruistic or in this case unflatteringly self revelatory , this is itself a way of garnering praise for yourself, thereby undermining the claim that it s so selfless.And so the book goes, constantly looping back and forth through a brilliant mindhyper aware of itself than just about any other Which might be incredibly revelatory about the author or might itself might be the ultimate ruse


  6. Bibi Bibi says:

    A reading inspired by Ian, who is presently traipsing across Portugal whatever, I m not jealous , because, Lord Byron, I presume. This is my first foray into the works of DFW It s unclear at this time if I ll read this in one sitting or at random, notwithstanding, my intent is to review each essay as a standalone Big Red SonBig Red Son is the first of nine essays What possible contrasts can be drawn between auto castration, the Hollywood film industry with it s less celebrated butlucra A reading inspired by Ian, who is presently traipsing across Portugal whatever, I m not jealous , because, Lord Byron, I presume. This is my first foray into the works of DFW It s unclear at this time if I ll read this in one sitting or at random, notwithstanding, my intent is to review each essay as a standalone Big Red SonBig Red Son is the first of nine essays What possible contrasts can be drawn between auto castration, the Hollywood film industry with it s less celebrated butlucrative twin, the US adult film industry A hilarious, insightful, birds eye reporting, documenting the vagaries of porn, and those who live in it It s the story no doubt butthan this, it s the raconteur Wallace is a master word and world builder, creating vivid pictures, showing the reader, seemingly and without thought, the world far removed from everyday life while, conversely, presenting society s addiction if the sales numbers are to be believed to porn At the end of Big Red Son, it becomes apparent why some men might consider and have inflicted auto castration Should I even mention the genius of this author A self named snoot, whose lexicon conveys an intrinsic brilliance that will have you calling your parents and gifting them a refund of all tuition fees they d ever paid Because, clearly, you must have attended one too many frat parties Ahhh But, I console myself with the knowledge that I am not alone in feeling as such.TBC


  7. Tara Tara says:

    Consider the Lobster was an admirably consistent and frequently entertaining collection of essays by DFW In my opinion, it was actually even stronger than his A Supposedly Fun Thing I ll Never Do Again, which was itself certainly no slouch Thoughts on and ratings for the individual essays can be found below Big Red Son 4.5 stars This essay on the porn industry was peppered liberally with humorous observations and intelligent insights, but really, that industry is so monumentally absurd, th Consider the Lobster was an admirably consistent and frequently entertaining collection of essays by DFW In my opinion, it was actually even stronger than his A Supposedly Fun Thing I ll Never Do Again, which was itself certainly no slouch Thoughts on and ratings for the individual essays can be found below Big Red Son 4.5 stars This essay on the porn industry was peppered liberally with humorous observations and intelligent insights, but really, that industry is so monumentally absurd, the video titles packed with so many terrible puns, that it s a vaguely nauseating laugh riot in its own right Very funny stuff Certainly the End of Something or Other, One Would Sort of Have to Think 4.5 stars I haven t read anything by Updike yet, but thanks to this semi acerbic, wholly persuasive review, I surely won t start with Toward the End of Time Some Remarks on Kafka s Funniness from Which Probably Not Enough Has Been Removed 4 stars DFW managed to elucidate Kafka s appeal rather well Most notable quotes were thisKafka s evocations are, rather, unconscious and almost sort of sub archetypal, the primordial little kid stuff from which myths derive this is why we tend to call even his weirdest stories nightmarish instead of surrealAnd thisThe really central Kafka joke that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggleAuthority and American Usage This was a rather lengthy, meandering review of a dictionary of modern American usage It is probably only truly engrossing to hardcore word nerds I, as it turns out, am not that hardcore That said, this bad boy ultimately delved into some fascinating aspects of language and ended up growing on me like a fungus, so I can t in good conscience give it any less than 3.5 stars The View from Mrs Thompson s 3.5 stars A brief look at what September 11, 2001 was like for DFW Not terribly remarkable on the whole, but it did end on a fairly poignant note How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart 4.5 stars This was unexpectedly interesting, scoring some great points as to the elusive appeal, and frequent subsequent disappointment, inherent in sports autobiographies Up, Simba 4 stars On the Campaign Trail with John McCain I m generally not a huge fan of politics, but DFW s earnest candor was often quite engaging He was such a magnetic, captivating writer, though, that he could make nearly any subject come to life Consider the Lobster 4 stars In which our intrepid investigator covers a lobster festival in Maine His musings on the morality of eating other living creatures were heartfelt and at times rather compelling Joseph Frank s Dostoevsky 3.5 stars This was a little too vivisection y for my tastes But then, that s probably just me I am quite reluctant to over analyze Dostoevsky s works I only ever want to live them He s my favorite author, and I don t want to hack his work to bits to find the deeper meaning it already speaks volumes for itself, searing in its eloquence and profundity, far greater than the sum of its parts


  8. Steven Godin Steven Godin says:

    I ve long been told by so many to read Infinite Jest, but the problem is, an equal amount of people have said it s not worth the bother For a book so long, I m not ready to take the risk I can t comment on his fiction, but this collection of essays was simply A material I would have given five stars just for the piece on the porn industry The rest too were also mighty fine I don t use tour de force that often when it comes to books, but this was precisely that.He s been called a postmodern I ve long been told by so many to read Infinite Jest, but the problem is, an equal amount of people have said it s not worth the bother For a book so long, I m not ready to take the risk I can t comment on his fiction, but this collection of essays was simply A material I would have given five stars just for the piece on the porn industry The rest too were also mighty fine I don t use tour de force that often when it comes to books, but this was precisely that.He s been called a postmodern philosopher, and a genius, and also a sublimely funny writer, and that it s easy to see here It s funny ha ha and peculiar funny Consider the Lobster offers an exhilarating short cut to the mind of a writer for whom autocastration is a good reason to investigate adult entertainment , who swears once a year not to get angry and self righteous about the misuse of the possessive apostrophe, or the serial comma, and who is happy to devote 3,000 words to Kafka s sense of humour This collection demonstrates a contemporary American master working at the extreme edge of the literary radar, asking question after question about the mad, mad world in which he finds himself How else to encompass a book that segues from 9 11, Dostoevsky and Senator John McCain These pieces, previously published in Rolling Stone, Harper s, Gourmet magazine, and the Atlantic Monthly, explore three main themes language, literature and US society.Whilst all, in their own way were great, it s the Piece on the Adult Video News awards, which I found the most memorable Wallace s ferocious snootiness makes him a fearsome literary critic There are not many American writers who would relish landing a swinging left hook at John Updike In the search for the truth about David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster throws up some vital clues His influences include Tom Wolfe, Flannery O Connor, Fitzgerald and Pynchon But above and beyond all these literary godparents, the writer to whom Wallace isdeeply in debt than the current American economy must be Mark Twain, from whom, as Hemingway observed, all American literature derives.Great stuff


  9. Michael Finocchiaro Michael Finocchiaro says:

    This is an interesting collection of unrelated essays by the late David Foster Wallace The funniest one for me was the title essay No one could match him for wit and manipulation of language as this book attests There are some essays though which are nearly unreadable like the one about a dictionary Once you have read Infinite Jest and Pale King and wish to read a bit of his non fiction, this one or Something Supposedly Fun that I ll Never Try Again would be a nice place to start.


  10. Khashayar Mohammadi Khashayar Mohammadi says:

    What a trip DFW s fractured narrative feelslike a genuine conversation than anything else The essays are insightful and thought provoking but I feel they are aimed mostly at an American audience I loved DFW s writing, especially the last piece where endnotes were boxed in and merged with the body of essay itself but asides from a chapter or two, a big bulk of the content was socio political issues that hardly matter to a non American.


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10 thoughts on “Consider the Lobster and Other Essays

  1. David David says:

    Full disclosure I have a major intellectual crush on David Foster Wallace Yes, yes, I know all about his weaknesses the digressions, the rampant footnote abuse, the flaunting of his amazing erudition, the mess that is Infinite Jest I know all this, and I don t care Because when he is in top form, there s nobody else I would rather read The man is hilarious I think he s a mensch, and I don t believe he parades his erudition just to prove how smart he is I think he can t help himself Full disclosure I have a major intellectual crush on David Foster Wallace Yes, yes, I know all about his weaknesses the digressions, the rampant footnote abuse, the flaunting of his amazing erudition, the mess that is Infinite Jest I know all this, and I don t care Because when he is in top form, there s nobody else I would rather read The man is hilarious I think he s a mensch, and I don t believe he parades his erudition just to prove how smart he is I think he can t help himself it s a consequence of his wide ranging curiosity At heart he s a geek, but a charming, hyper articulate geek Who is almost frighteningly smart.The pieces in Consider the Lobster have appeared previously in Rolling Stone, The Atlantic Monthly, the New York Observer, the Philadelphia Enquirer, Harper s, Gourmet, and Premiere magazines Among them are short meditations on Updike s Toward the end of Time , on Dostoyevsky, on Kafka s humor, and on the breathtakingly insipid autobiography of tennis player Tracy Austin An intermediate length piece describes Foster Wallace s eminently sane reaction to the attacks of September 11th Each of these shorter essays is interesting, but the meat and potatoes of the book is in the remaining five, considerably longer, pieces They are Big Red Son a report on the 1998 Adult Video News awards the Oscars of porn in Las Vegas.Consider the Lobster a report on a visit to the annual Maine Lobster Festival for Gourmet magazine.Host a report on conservative talk radio, based on extensive interviews conducted with John Ziegler, host of Live and Local on Southern California s KFI.Up Simba an account of seven days on the campaign trail with John McCain in his 2000 presidential bid for Rolling Stone.Authority and American Usage a review of Bryan Garner s A Dictionary of Modern American Usage , which serves as a springboard for a terrific exegesis of usage questions and controversies.Here s what I like about David Foster Wallace s writing I know of nobody else who writes as thoughtfully and intelligently That he manages to write so informatively, with humor and genuine wit, on almost any subject under the sun is mind blowing it s also why I am willing to forgive his occasional stylistic excesses Can you spell footnote You may not have a strong interest in lobsters or pornography, but the essays in question are terrific The reporting on Ziegler and McCain is amazingly good, heartbreakingly so, because it makes the relative shallowness of most reporting painfully evident Finally, the article on usage is a tour de force when it first appeared in Harper s, upon finishing it, I was immediately moved to go online and order a copy of Garner s book which is just as good as DFW promised How can you not enjoy an essay that begins as followsDid you know that probing the seamy underbelly of US lexicography reveals ideological strife and controversy and intrigue and nastiness and fervor on a near Lewinskian scale several other rhetorical questions Did you know that US lexicography even had a seamy underbellyAnd which later contains sentences such asTeachers who do this are dumb ,This argument is not quite the barrel of drugged trout that Methodological Descriptivism was, but it s still vulnerable to objectionsand my personal favoriteThis is so stupid it practically drools Not everyone will give it 5 stars, but I do

  2. Riku Sayuj Riku Sayuj says:

    Consider The EssayThis is a fine collection of essays It does not seem to be put together following any particular collective logic, but all the essays seem to be good advertisements to DFW s intuitively imaginative, explorative and curious writing method Would need to readof DFW s essays to be able to comment on the logic of this particular set of essays inhabiting the same book It is, however, vintage DFW and hence cannot be rated below 5 stars, even if a couple of essays were so so Consider The EssayThis is a fine collection of essays It does not seem to be put together following any particular collective logic, but all the essays seem to be good advertisements to DFW s intuitively imaginative, explorative and curious writing method Would need to readof DFW s essays to be able to comment on the logic of this particular set of essays inhabiting the same book It is, however, vintage DFW and hence cannot be rated below 5 stars, even if a couple of essays were so so InterpolationFor practical purposes, everyone knows what an essay or a book review is As usual, though, there s muchto know than most of us care about it s all a matter of what your interests areThe first extremely explicit essay on an inside look into the Porn industry turned this reviewer off slightly being the prude that I am but from then on it was increasingly easy to figure why so many of my most respected friends have such an intellectual crush on DFW I have too now, I guess Or maybe it is puppy love Hard to know for sure IJ is such a bad place to first encounter DFW, he is all infinite there with no restrictions on his interpolative imagination , the finite essays are so muchfun, accessible and lovable and most importantly, imitable at least in intent, if not in style The biggest crush inducer, however, is how many of DFW s sentences and ideas you actually want to remember and use for yourself Therein lies the most important reason to fall in love he is really placing himself at a level that you can aspire towards Not too difficult, not too complex, but deliciously complex enough to stretch comprehension and understanding It is not terribly difficult to fall in love from there InterpolationThis reviewer acknowledges that there seems to be some, umm, personal stuff getting worked out here but the stuff is, umm, germane. As you get into the essays, you will find that the jungle of footnotes and the sub foot notes and sub sub well no point in scaring off potential readers will soon become a veritable tangle Not to mention the thicket of interpolations interpolation upon interpolation upon interpolation, ad infinitum I had read a New York Times piece with a great quote from DFW in reference to his endnotes Most poetry is written to ride on the breath, and getting to hear the poet read is kind of a revelation and makes the poetryalive But with certain literary narrative writers like me, we want the writing to sound like a brain voice, like the sound of the voice inside of the head, and the brain voice is faster, is absent any breath, and it holds together grammatically rather than sonically InterpolationNot sure if this applies to his fiction as well but, if you happen to miss the footnotes, you would miss half the fun, not to mention half the book. This reviewer was never able to figure out if DFW is showing off or if he just couldn t help being a genius It was a source of constant amazement to observe how DFW uses a review or any given essay to explore every pet topic imaginable It was evenamazing to imagine how his editors let him do that.In illustration of this amazement For it turned out that theinteresting a happenstance was, thetime and page space it took to make sense of it, or, if it made no sense, to describe what it was and explain why it didn t make sense but was interesting anyway if viewed in a certain context that then itself had to be described, and so on With the end result being that the actual document delivered per contract to Rolling Stone magazine turned out to be longer andcomplicated than they d asked for Quite a bit longer, actually In fact the article s editor pointed out that running the whole thing would take up most of Rolling Stone s text space and might even cut into the percentage of the magazine reserved for advertisements, which obviously would not do. Surely, you get the drift InterpolationOn DFW David Foster Wallace is a pretty long name David, Foster or Wallace, however, by themselves wouldn t be enough to indicate who you are referring to Hence it has to be the whole name David Foster Wallace, which being too long is DFW the best option for fans who want to talk about DFW often enough. In sum, give DFW any topic and he will conjure out of it the angst of the modern condition, link it with some fundamental disconnect and manage to be completely non pretentious and genuine while doing that He suspends your inner cynic That is genius, whatever else you might say

  3. MJ Nicholls MJ Nicholls says:

    Outstanding The closest one can get to triple penetration in essay form.Each one is a stunner, from the grotesquerie of the Adult Video Awards in Big Red Son, the magniloquent ass handing of John Updike, the sublime pedantry of the modern classic Authority and American Usage, the obsessive campaign chronicling of Up, Simba, to the staggeringly researched meta bubbling John Ziegler profile Host All the essays succeed at tying razor sharp exegeses of American culture to a holy clarity of Outstanding The closest one can get to triple penetration in essay form.Each one is a stunner, from the grotesquerie of the Adult Video Awards in Big Red Son, the magniloquent ass handing of John Updike, the sublime pedantry of the modern classic Authority and American Usage, the obsessive campaign chronicling of Up, Simba, to the staggeringly researched meta bubbling John Ziegler profile Host All the essays succeed at tying razor sharp exegeses of American culture to a holy clarity of insight, showing how acutely attuned to the nuances of the human mind Mr Wallace was Even among the shorter pieces here the Bergman like silence of The View From Mrs Thompson s to the dazzling dissection of Dostoevsky, this is super stellar belles lettrism from outer space And to top it all, I now feel deeply for lobsters

  4. B0nnie B0nnie says:

    What can I say Another brilliant set of essays.1 Big Red Son at the AVN Adult Video News Awards An insightful and amusing look at the porn industry For a regular civilian male, hanging out in a hotel suite with porn starlets is a tense and emotionally convolved affair There is, first, the matter of having seen the various intimate activities and anatomical parts of these starlets in videos heretofore and thus weirdly feeling shy about meeting them But there is also a complex erotic t What can I say Another brilliant set of essays.1 Big Red Son at the AVN Adult Video News Awards An insightful and amusing look at the porn industry For a regular civilian male, hanging out in a hotel suite with porn starlets is a tense and emotionally convolved affair There is, first, the matter of having seen the various intimate activities and anatomical parts of these starlets in videos heretofore and thus weirdly feeling shy about meeting them But there is also a complex erotic tension Because porn films worlds are so sexualized, with everybody seemingly teetering right on the edge of coitus all the time and it taking only the slightest nudge or excuse a stalled elevator, an unlocked door, a cocked eyebrow, a firm handshake to send everyone tumbling into a tangled mass of limbs and orifices, there s a bizarre unconscious expectation dread hope that this is what might happen in Max Hardcore s hotel room Yr corresps here find it impossible to overemphasize the fact that this is a delusion In fact, of course, the unconscious expectation dread hope makes nosense than it would make to be hanging out with doctors at a medical convention and to expect that at the slightest provocation everyone in the room would tumble into a frenzy of MRIs and epidurals 2 Certainly the End Of Something Or Other, One Would Sort Of Have To Think book review, John Updike s Toward the End of Time Here is the upshot, although Wallace is a fan,Toward the End of Time concerns an extremely erudite, successful, narcissistic, and sex obsessed retired guy who s keeping a one year journal in which he explores the apocalyptic prospect of his own death.Toward the End of Time is also, of the let s say two dozen Updike books I ve read, far and away the worst, a novel so clunky and self indulgent that it s hard to believe the author let it be published in this kind of shape.3 Some Remarks on Kafka s Funniness From Which Probably Not Enough Has Been Removed It s not that students don t get Kafka s humor but that we ve taught them to see humor as something you get the same way we ve taught them that a self is something you just have No wonder they cannot appreciate the really central Kafka joke that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle That our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home It s hard to put into words, up at the blackboard, believe me You can tell them that maybe it s good they don t get Kafka You can ask them to imagine his stories as all about a kind of door To envision us approaching and pounding on this door, increasingly hard, pounding and pounding, not just wanting admission but needing it we don t know what it is but we can feel it, this total desperation to enter, pounding and ramming and kicking That, finally, the door opens and it opens outward we ve been inside what we wanted all along Das ist komisch.4 Authority and American UsageLove, and do what you will as applied to grammar This is a very complicated review of A Dictionary of Modern American Usage by Bryan Garner.Bryan Garner is a genius because he just about completely resolves the Usage Wars problem of Authority The book s solution is both semantic and rhetorical 5 The View From Mrs Thompson sLOCATION BLOOMINGTON, ILLINOISDATES 11 13 SEPTEMBER 2001SUBJECT OBVIOUS What these Bloomington ladies are, or start to seem to me, is innocent There is what would strike many Americans as a marked, startling lack of cynicism in the room It does not, for instance, occur to anyone here to remark on how it s maybe a little odd that all three network anchors are in shirtsleeves, or to consider the possibility that Dan Rather s hair s being mussed might not be wholly accidental, or that the constant rerunning of horrific footage might not be just in case some viewers were only now tuning in and hadn t seen it yet None of the ladies seem to notice the president s odd little lightless eyes appear to get closer and closer together throughout his taped address, nor that some of his lines sound almost plagiaristically identical to those uttered by Bruce Willis as a right wing wacko, recall in The Siege a couple years back Nor that at least some of the sheer weirdness of watching the Horror unfold has been how closely various shots and scenes have mirrored the plots of everything from Die Hard I III to Air Force One Nobody s near hip enough to lodge the sick and obvious po mo complaint We ve Seen This Before Instead, what they do is all sit together and feel really bad, and pray No one in Mrs Thompson s crew would ever be so nauseous as to try to get everybody to pray aloud or form a prayer circle, but you can still tell what they re all doing.6 How Tracy Austin Broke My HeartA review of the Tracy Austin autobiography, Beyond Center Court My Story The book is bad, but hey,maybe we automatically expect people who are geniuses as athletes to be geniuses also as speakers and writers, to be articulate, perceptive, truthful, profound If it s just that we naively expect geniuses in motion to be also geniuses in reflection, then their failure to be that shouldn t really seem any crueler ordisillusioning than Kant s glass jaw or Eliot s inability to hit the curve 7 Up, SimbaWith John McCain on his campaign bus in 2000 He gives a mini biography of McCain s experience as a POW with gruesome detail, and his refusal to be released without the other POWs, This gives him the moral authority both to utter lines about causes beyond self interest and to expect us, even in this age of spin and lawyerly cunning, to believe he means them And yes, literally moral authority, that old clich , like so many other clich s service, honor, duty that have become now just mostly words, slogans invoked by men in nice suits who want something from us 8 Consider the LobsterWallace covers the Maine Lobster Festival, 2003 Is it all right to boil a sentient creature alive just for our gustatory pleasure Lobsters don t have much in the way of eyesight or hearing, but they do have an exquisite tactile sense, one facilitated by hundreds of thousands of tiny hairs that protrude through their carapace Thus it is, in the words of T M Prudden s industry classic About Lobster, that although encased in what seems a solid, impenetrable armor, the lobster can receive stimuli and impressions from without as readily as if it possessed a soft and delicate skin And lobsters do have nociceptors, as well as invertebrate versions of the prostaglandins and major neurotransmitters via which our own brains register pain.9 Joseph Frank s Dostoevsky A review of Joseph Frank s five volume Dostoevsky The thing about Dostoevsky s characters is that they are alive By which I don t just mean that they re successfully realized or developed or rounded The best of them live inside us, forever, once we ve met them Recall the proud and pathetic Raskolnikov, the naive Devushkin, the beautiful and damned Nastasya of The Idiot, the fawning Lebyedev and spiderish Ippolit of the same novel CP s ingenious maverick detective Porfiry Petrovich without whom there would probably be no commercial crime fiction w eccentrically brilliant cops Marmeladov, the hideous and pitiful sot or the vain and noble roulette addict Aleksey Ivanovich of The Gambler the gold hearted prostitutes Sonya and Liza the cynically innocent Aglaia or the unbelievably repellent Smerdyakov, that living engine of slimy resentment in whom I personally see parts of myself I can barely stand to look at or the idealized and all too human Myshkin and Alyosha, the doomed human Christ and triumphant child pilgrim, respectively These and so many other FMD creatures are alive retain what Frank calls their immense vitality not because they re just skillfully drawn types or facets of human beings but because, acting within plausible and morally compelling plots, they dramatize the profoundest parts of all humans, the parts most conflicted, most serious the ones with the most at stake Plus, without ever ceasing to be 3 D individuals, Dostoevsky s characters manage to embody whole ideologies and philosophies of life Raskolnikov the rational egoism of the 1860s intelligentsia, Myshkin mystical Christian love, the Underground Man the influence of European positivism on the Russian character, Ippolit the individual will raging against death s inevitability, Aleksey the perversion of Slavophilic pride in the face of European decadence, and so on and so forth.The thrust here is that Dostoevsky wrote fiction about the stuff that s really important He wrote fiction about identity, moral value, death, will, sexual vs spiritual love, greed, freedom, obsession, reason, faith, suicide And he did it without ever reducing his characters to mouthpieces or his books to tracts His concern was always what it is to be a human being that is, how to be an actual person, someone whose life is informed by values and principles, instead of just an especially shrewd kind of self preserving animal.10 Host Read it here An article on John Ziegler and talk radio Whatever the social effects of talk radio or the partisan agendas of certain hosts, it is a fallacy that political talk radio is motivated by ideology It is not Political talk radio is a business, and it is motivated by revenue The conservatism that dominates today s AM airwaves does so because it generates high Arbitron ratings, high ad rates, and maximum profits.Wallace discusses Consider the Lobster with interviewer Michael Silverblatt.http youtu.be IhCfHSVzTkI

  5. Michael Michael says:

    This book reminds me why I love DFW The erudition, humility, self consciousness, and truth seeking are all on fine display here, as is the extremely personal nature of his prose He s constantly revealing himself while writing about others, even when such revelations are less than flattering, and is openly unsure about the worthiness of such self revelation, and is also unsure whether this very open unsureness about the worthiness of his self revelation is itself another layer of unworthy self This book reminds me why I love DFW The erudition, humility, self consciousness, and truth seeking are all on fine display here, as is the extremely personal nature of his prose He s constantly revealing himself while writing about others, even when such revelations are less than flattering, and is openly unsure about the worthiness of such self revelation, and is also unsure whether this very open unsureness about the worthiness of his self revelation is itself another layer of unworthy self revelation, as in look at and admire me because I reveal all my inner faults Which is another way of saying what he himself says in one of these essays that there s no such thing as true altruism, because even when you re being altruistic or in this case unflatteringly self revelatory , this is itself a way of garnering praise for yourself, thereby undermining the claim that it s so selfless.And so the book goes, constantly looping back and forth through a brilliant mindhyper aware of itself than just about any other Which might be incredibly revelatory about the author or might itself might be the ultimate ruse

  6. Bibi Bibi says:

    A reading inspired by Ian, who is presently traipsing across Portugal whatever, I m not jealous , because, Lord Byron, I presume. This is my first foray into the works of DFW It s unclear at this time if I ll read this in one sitting or at random, notwithstanding, my intent is to review each essay as a standalone Big Red SonBig Red Son is the first of nine essays What possible contrasts can be drawn between auto castration, the Hollywood film industry with it s less celebrated butlucra A reading inspired by Ian, who is presently traipsing across Portugal whatever, I m not jealous , because, Lord Byron, I presume. This is my first foray into the works of DFW It s unclear at this time if I ll read this in one sitting or at random, notwithstanding, my intent is to review each essay as a standalone Big Red SonBig Red Son is the first of nine essays What possible contrasts can be drawn between auto castration, the Hollywood film industry with it s less celebrated butlucrative twin, the US adult film industry A hilarious, insightful, birds eye reporting, documenting the vagaries of porn, and those who live in it It s the story no doubt butthan this, it s the raconteur Wallace is a master word and world builder, creating vivid pictures, showing the reader, seemingly and without thought, the world far removed from everyday life while, conversely, presenting society s addiction if the sales numbers are to be believed to porn At the end of Big Red Son, it becomes apparent why some men might consider and have inflicted auto castration Should I even mention the genius of this author A self named snoot, whose lexicon conveys an intrinsic brilliance that will have you calling your parents and gifting them a refund of all tuition fees they d ever paid Because, clearly, you must have attended one too many frat parties Ahhh But, I console myself with the knowledge that I am not alone in feeling as such.TBC

  7. Tara Tara says:

    Consider the Lobster was an admirably consistent and frequently entertaining collection of essays by DFW In my opinion, it was actually even stronger than his A Supposedly Fun Thing I ll Never Do Again, which was itself certainly no slouch Thoughts on and ratings for the individual essays can be found below Big Red Son 4.5 stars This essay on the porn industry was peppered liberally with humorous observations and intelligent insights, but really, that industry is so monumentally absurd, th Consider the Lobster was an admirably consistent and frequently entertaining collection of essays by DFW In my opinion, it was actually even stronger than his A Supposedly Fun Thing I ll Never Do Again, which was itself certainly no slouch Thoughts on and ratings for the individual essays can be found below Big Red Son 4.5 stars This essay on the porn industry was peppered liberally with humorous observations and intelligent insights, but really, that industry is so monumentally absurd, the video titles packed with so many terrible puns, that it s a vaguely nauseating laugh riot in its own right Very funny stuff Certainly the End of Something or Other, One Would Sort of Have to Think 4.5 stars I haven t read anything by Updike yet, but thanks to this semi acerbic, wholly persuasive review, I surely won t start with Toward the End of Time Some Remarks on Kafka s Funniness from Which Probably Not Enough Has Been Removed 4 stars DFW managed to elucidate Kafka s appeal rather well Most notable quotes were thisKafka s evocations are, rather, unconscious and almost sort of sub archetypal, the primordial little kid stuff from which myths derive this is why we tend to call even his weirdest stories nightmarish instead of surrealAnd thisThe really central Kafka joke that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggleAuthority and American Usage This was a rather lengthy, meandering review of a dictionary of modern American usage It is probably only truly engrossing to hardcore word nerds I, as it turns out, am not that hardcore That said, this bad boy ultimately delved into some fascinating aspects of language and ended up growing on me like a fungus, so I can t in good conscience give it any less than 3.5 stars The View from Mrs Thompson s 3.5 stars A brief look at what September 11, 2001 was like for DFW Not terribly remarkable on the whole, but it did end on a fairly poignant note How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart 4.5 stars This was unexpectedly interesting, scoring some great points as to the elusive appeal, and frequent subsequent disappointment, inherent in sports autobiographies Up, Simba 4 stars On the Campaign Trail with John McCain I m generally not a huge fan of politics, but DFW s earnest candor was often quite engaging He was such a magnetic, captivating writer, though, that he could make nearly any subject come to life Consider the Lobster 4 stars In which our intrepid investigator covers a lobster festival in Maine His musings on the morality of eating other living creatures were heartfelt and at times rather compelling Joseph Frank s Dostoevsky 3.5 stars This was a little too vivisection y for my tastes But then, that s probably just me I am quite reluctant to over analyze Dostoevsky s works I only ever want to live them He s my favorite author, and I don t want to hack his work to bits to find the deeper meaning it already speaks volumes for itself, searing in its eloquence and profundity, far greater than the sum of its parts

  8. Steven Godin Steven Godin says:

    I ve long been told by so many to read Infinite Jest, but the problem is, an equal amount of people have said it s not worth the bother For a book so long, I m not ready to take the risk I can t comment on his fiction, but this collection of essays was simply A material I would have given five stars just for the piece on the porn industry The rest too were also mighty fine I don t use tour de force that often when it comes to books, but this was precisely that.He s been called a postmodern I ve long been told by so many to read Infinite Jest, but the problem is, an equal amount of people have said it s not worth the bother For a book so long, I m not ready to take the risk I can t comment on his fiction, but this collection of essays was simply A material I would have given five stars just for the piece on the porn industry The rest too were also mighty fine I don t use tour de force that often when it comes to books, but this was precisely that.He s been called a postmodern philosopher, and a genius, and also a sublimely funny writer, and that it s easy to see here It s funny ha ha and peculiar funny Consider the Lobster offers an exhilarating short cut to the mind of a writer for whom autocastration is a good reason to investigate adult entertainment , who swears once a year not to get angry and self righteous about the misuse of the possessive apostrophe, or the serial comma, and who is happy to devote 3,000 words to Kafka s sense of humour This collection demonstrates a contemporary American master working at the extreme edge of the literary radar, asking question after question about the mad, mad world in which he finds himself How else to encompass a book that segues from 9 11, Dostoevsky and Senator John McCain These pieces, previously published in Rolling Stone, Harper s, Gourmet magazine, and the Atlantic Monthly, explore three main themes language, literature and US society.Whilst all, in their own way were great, it s the Piece on the Adult Video News awards, which I found the most memorable Wallace s ferocious snootiness makes him a fearsome literary critic There are not many American writers who would relish landing a swinging left hook at John Updike In the search for the truth about David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster throws up some vital clues His influences include Tom Wolfe, Flannery O Connor, Fitzgerald and Pynchon But above and beyond all these literary godparents, the writer to whom Wallace isdeeply in debt than the current American economy must be Mark Twain, from whom, as Hemingway observed, all American literature derives.Great stuff

  9. Michael Finocchiaro Michael Finocchiaro says:

    This is an interesting collection of unrelated essays by the late David Foster Wallace The funniest one for me was the title essay No one could match him for wit and manipulation of language as this book attests There are some essays though which are nearly unreadable like the one about a dictionary Once you have read Infinite Jest and Pale King and wish to read a bit of his non fiction, this one or Something Supposedly Fun that I ll Never Try Again would be a nice place to start.

  10. Khashayar Mohammadi Khashayar Mohammadi says:

    What a trip DFW s fractured narrative feelslike a genuine conversation than anything else The essays are insightful and thought provoking but I feel they are aimed mostly at an American audience I loved DFW s writing, especially the last piece where endnotes were boxed in and merged with the body of essay itself but asides from a chapter or two, a big bulk of the content was socio political issues that hardly matter to a non American.

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