- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (21 Jun. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 034911952X
- ISBN-13: 978-0349119526
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Consider The Lobster: And Other Essays Paperback – 21 Jun 2007
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More About the Author
He is eloquent, scathing, precise and very funny (INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)
Wallace's voice comes zinging off the page, reinforcing the school of thought that says he's some type of maybe-genius doing something they haven't invented a word for yet (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)
A writer of virtuostic talents who can seemingly do anything (NEW YORK TIMES)
Wallace is a superb comedian of culture . . . his exuberance and intellectual impishness are a delight (James Woods, GUARDIAN)
A brilliant and hilarious new collection of essays from the award-winning author of the bestseller INFINITE JESTSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The brief reviews generally tend to take an item and use it as a staging area for discussing something more interesting than the given subject. For example, in "Certainly the End of Something or Other", Wallace uses his review of John Updike's novel Toward the End of Time to highlight the general narcissism and shallowness of writers such as Updike, Philip Roth, and Norman Mailer. His 20-page review of Joseph Frank's biography of Dostoevsky is largely dedicated to making a larger point about literary criticism, and his 25-page review of tennis player Tracy Austin's autobiography is similarly dedicated to identifying the fundamental problem of sports memoirs. I have to admit that the essential point of the shortest piece, "Some Remarks on Kafka's Funniness", eluded me.
The two more personal pieces are strikingly different, but in each one gets a vivid impression of Wallace working through his own feelings. In, "The View From Mrs. Thompson's", he uses 13 pages to recount his own September 11 experience in Bloomington, Indiana.Read more ›
1) The essay "Host" is not included in electronic editions of the book, although it is included in physical editions.
2) David Foster Wallace's style includes extensive use of footnotes, and on older Kindles it's somewhat fiddly to navigate to footnotes and back.
For these reasons, this particular book is probably best read in hard copy.
Foster Wallace is addicted to footnotes and in the last piece in this book he tries another method of interjection with arrows to squares dotted around the text, which I found exhausting to read in a peculiar and resigned-chuckle-inducing manner. Some people will throw the book across the room at this point. However, what he has to say, regardless of his sometimes irritating textual tricks, is always, always interesting. He is formidably loquacious, forbiddingly clever and also damned smart with the sort of wit that creeps up and stabs you in the back. He is an enfant terrible, albeit one who teaches English to undergraduates. He is also a deeply original thinker and an absolute delight.
In this book he discourses upon: the `soft-core' porn industry in America; why Kafka is funny; the usage and abusage of American English (perhaps the most fascinating essay I have ever read (yes, really!)); watching 9/11 unfold on a neighbour-lady's television; the pallidity of sports biographies; following John McCain on the hustings; whether or not lobsters can feel pain (they can); Joseph Frank's books about Dosteovksy; and a radio shock-jock's late-night phone-in programme.
Personally I feel my life is the poorer for not having a huge anthology of Foster Wallace's essays to hand to be able to read whenever I want to feel cheered and hopeful for the human race. However, he is not an easy read. You need to want this kind of discourse in your life. You need to enjoy a voice in your ear saying, nothing is easy, nothing is simple, and there is very little about life that doesn't deserve much deeper consideration than it is ordinarily given.
I'm also curious about how a kindle verison of this book would look like, given all the boxes, footnotes, and footnotes to footnotes. To be on the safe side, I'd recomment buying on the paper version.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My introduction - bit late, but never mind - to DFW. This essay collection divides between reportage and what I can best call scholarly dissertation. The former's simply brilliant. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Smst1
Some very well written and revealing pieces in this diverse collection, though I think "Pulphead" is better, being a more cohesive and controlled example of the genre. Read morePublished 11 months ago by keen reader
Must read. The voice of David Foster Wallace in these essays matches how my delusional self believes it can think. Read morePublished 17 months ago by J Peris