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Thread: David Foster Wallace

  1. #1
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    Default David Foster Wallace



    I'm enjoing reading Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity, it's the first Wallace book I ever read. Where to go next with his ouvre? Comments, critic, suggestions?

  2. #2
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    try girl with curious hair.
    if you like that then set a month aside for infinite jest.
    neither of these are maths though.

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    dfw - his short stories are as good as anywhere else to start, demonstrating his range form hypnotic storyteller to annoying pomo no-ending stories - the girl with the curious hair for my money being better than brief interviews with hideous men (although the interviews that make up a running theme in the book are great), i haven't read the latest collection of short stories but i get the impression that the critical tide is turning against him - as it seems to be with most of the barthelme inspired school - antrim et al.
    as for the novels, nothing beats infinite jest - yes huge and unwieldy but it really is a great read and is full of more ideas than most writers can possibly dream of - the militant grammarians who blow up supermarkets for having eight items or less aisles, the canadian terrorist group who are all wheel chair bound and the terror of the phrase'hearing the wheel chair squeak', the subtle and persisent references to Hamlet, the bizarreness of tennis schools, game theory and addiction, etc - a big , ambitious novel that does the job - also teh last word in novels with footnotes.
    the other novel - the broom of the system is also worth the read but has an annoying ending.
    his journalism - a supposeely fun thing i'll never do again is maybe a better place to start if you've got into him via his non-fiction - the supposedly fun thing is a cruise and his descriptions of the ship, its crew and the holidaymakers make it sound like one of the most helliish events one would voluntarily take part in. also has a good profile of david lynch in there and a fine explanation of being a tennis pro (dfw wasa child tennis star)
    would though stay well clear of signifying rappers by him and mark costello which is rubbish and am glad i only paid two quid for it from a book shop near the british museum - white boy miscomprehension regarding rap music.
    hope this is of some usps i would check out J. Robert lennon if you like dfw.

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    Thanks very much.
    The little book shop near home had a copy of infinite jest and were shocked that they finally sell it! Th cute shop assistant young girl commented "it's longer than Lord of the Ring!". So i'm beginning in reading that, and it will take time (but i love long books!). I'll chech out Robert Lennon i'm very interested.

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    not any kind of expert on this guy....found him inconsistent...really really enjoyed Infinte Jest, though...highly recommended...may check out this Maths book at some point

  6. #6
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    Infinite Jest is worth the effort. I agree w/everything Jenks said about it but would also add that it's damn funny too. A tip: read the footnotes in the right place (i.e. don't ignore them and then read them at the end) as they add to the plot. Even the filmography.

    Supposedly Fun Thing is mixed. The title story is the cruise one, which is great. The tennis pro one is great as well.

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    Default urine trouble? urine help!

    my second post here: yeah parts of infinite jest is fucking hillarious. but the Canadian terrorist group bits really went over my head... didn't know what to make of it. so I made it about half or 2/3 way through. my favorite DFW story is in "Brief Interviews", the one where he does open-head surgery on that poor manic-depressive girl... pretty amazing in its methodical analysis and clinical telling of the story. with more than a touch of misanthropy... I think atleast.

    he's more interesting than Dave Eggers. whose debut I'm just now reading, which is neither heart-breaking nor staggering in its genius. just kind of cute and funny at times.

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    What do we think of the backlash over the last few years? I get it in terms of the man himself as the stuff he's been accused of is awful and I'm not his biggest fan as far as his work is concerned anyway, but saying you haven't read Infinite Jest is apparently a point of pride these days.

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    He's probably the worst writer of the last 100 years. End of conversation. Lock thread.

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    Itíll all work itself out
    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    I respect islamists

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    but saying you haven't read Infinite Jest is apparently a point of pride these days.
    Luke and I actually started this.

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  13. #12
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    I like what he says about irony.

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    I'm sure I've said it before but Infinite Jest really is genius and everything else I've read by him is on a significantly lower level, some of it (The Broom of the System) to the extent that it seems like a less gifted writer trying to pastiche him. It makes me think that IJ is a fluke - except can you really fluke a book 900 pages long? I don't get the dislike, sure IJ is clever clever but it also really has heart to it, it has feeling and (to me anyway) it seems genuine. Any irritation you get from perceived smugness or smartness should really be smoothed away by this. IJ is Gravity's Rainbow with a soul and it's all the better for that.

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  16. #14
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    I like his essays, never read his fiction.

    His essay about Federer, for example https://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/20/s...20federer.html

    If luka can praise Barney Ronay to the skies surely he'll concede this is good shit

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  18. #15
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    On my hols, so not inclined to write long posts but I second what Rich says. IJ is just magnificent. Much more human than Pynchon, but beautifully written, crazily creative. Was a joy to read tbh, though of course I flagged at points.

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