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Consider the Lobster: And Other Essays Paperback – Jul 2 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; 1 edition (July 2 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316013323
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316013321
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 20.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #29,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This audiobook is like no other—not for the fabulous essays or deft narration, but for its inclusion of footnotes. Audio footnotes? It's quite simple. When Wallace reads his plentiful footnotes, which as fans know are anecdotal asides rather than bibliographic references, his voice changes tone. At first, this audio wrinkle sounds odd. But the novelty quickly fades and the parentheticals play as effective and amusing a role as in his print work, perhaps more so since here flow can be better maintained. Wallace dissects various subjects—lobsters, porn, sports memoirs, September 11—through Midwestern eyes. Smart and incisive, he always goes deep and follows threads of thought to their vanishing points, often in witty (though never a self-consciously clever) manner. His delivery is dead-on and fresh, the words often springing from his mouth as if conceived on the spot. His voice mostly hovers a notch or two above monotone, imbuing the material with equal parts wonder and skepticism. Though this collection comprises a mere four hours on three discs, Wallace's depth and breadth creates the sensation of a larger narrative—an audible confirmation that modern American writing continues to gain strength. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 10). (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

In his latest essay collection, Wallace, known best for his expansive metafiction, traverses a wide swathe of territory, swinging from a consideration of pornography to a reading of John Updike (perhaps not such a stretch), from the 2000 campaign trail of Republican John McClain to reflections on Kafka and Dostoyevsky, and from Bloomington, Illinois, to lobster-trawling Maine. The uberliterate Wallace is a subtle Hunter Thompson, pointed, yet sly, in directing transitions to reveal his true intention--that is, he misleads, then opens up. Humorous, engaging, albeit a bit perplexing in his style, he is a little too trendy in his postmodern use of boxes, arrows, footnotes, and so on. But when Wallace is on the mark, few can compare in craft and craftiness. And there is enough that is uncool here to make it cool in a truly culty sense. Wallace's complex essays are written, and rightfully so, to be read more than once. Mark Eleveld
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Zepherine on July 15 2009
Format: Audio CD
David Foster Wallace was recommended to me by many friends. Most described him as hilarious, and recommended I start with his book "Consider the Lobster".

I read his first essay on the American adult film industry award ceremony (the one most talked about among my friends). The essay was very interesting (Foster Wallace describes a world most of us have little knowledge about), and his wit, pointed comments and background research enhance the story telling. However, I must confess I was not hooked.

I decided to give this book another try as an audio book. The book is abridged (only selected essays are read - the one on the adult industry was among the selectd essays), and it is read by the author. I think hearing the author's voice enhanced the experience, putting emphasis on parts of the text I would have glossed over. There are times when you clearly hear the author's disbelief,or stupor of what he is observing, or annoyance or anger that I simply missed in the text. So now, I am hooked, and I will give the book (and the essays that are not part of the audio book) a second (and enthusiastic) try.

A note. While most things are not for everyone, I think this is particularly true of Foster Wallace's book. I have come to realize that his humour (that my friends had so enthusiastically recommended), is more dry and intellectual than I expected. It comes from the author's keen insights and sometimes bewildered amazement at what he is seeing. It works, but it may take you a while to get into it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dave Id on July 11 2006
Format: Audio CD
It’s almost an embarrassment; say mortifying to even comment on a book whose author has an absolute mastery of the English language. If English was made of colors, this book would be its acid trip. Consider the Lobster is a collection of essays on various topics from the AVN Awards (AVN is the Oscars of the porn industry and to open the book with this essay was a brilliant hook for the reader) to the funny side of Kafka to the suffering of lobsters at Maine’s Lobster Fest.

Wallace, a self-described SNOOT of the bard’s verse writes like a salt and pepper professor that put the image of Billy Connelly during his stint as Billy MacGregor, the Irish teacher in the American TV Satire, Head of the Class. The image even now still comes up, since he’s just bloody brilliant and so meticulous, a perfectionist with a singular wit that could make the staunchest and driest of intellectuals crack-up. But on the contrary, looking at his picture on book flap, he looks more like he should be riding a Harley than he does a professor.

Wallace even writes about this type of preconceptions we make of people we read or listen to without ever seeing them. We make assumptions and deduce that one should look a certain way and when we meet them, or see them. We realise that you can’t judge a book by its cover, even if it has an endearing picture of a lobster raising a claw to be counted. As a personal comment, the book cover can’t top the cover of A Party of One, but its damn close

Wallace majored in my favourite subject, philosophy (focused on mathematics and logic) and graduated summa cum laude and detains an MFA in creative writing, making him a power house of intellectual writing.
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By John on Oct. 5 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great collection of essays by an excellent writer, I do not always agree with the points he is making or even in some cases the questions he is asking... but the subjects are entertaining the writing itself is truly great.
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By Henry on Dec 9 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazing writer, interesting subjects. Buy this book.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brian Maitland TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 22 2011
Format: Paperback
David Foster Wallace can write up a storm and, if the topic interests me, I'm there. The problem is too many of these essays culled from various publications Wallace wrote for bore the heck out of me.

I enjoyed his visit to Las Vegas for the annual AVN awards as it was both hilarious and penetrating (excuse the use of the bad pun given this was an awards show honoring the "best" in porn video). I also loved most of the essay on the Maine Lobster Festival but he went too far in trying to get to the bottom of whether lobsters felt pain. At first, it was fun to debate in a sort of late at night way you may have debated anything in your youth but it just went on and on with no end in sight.

The same with the other essay I slightly enjoyed about tennis star Tracy Austin's autobiography and how athlete biographies often fail to measure up. Wallace so often repeats himself and not so much hammers home a point but dulls it to death.

The stuff on writers or politics just put me to sleep. The essay on US lexicopgraphy interested me because I work in editing but it too quickly made my eyes glaze over.

Maybe Wallace just needs an editor to reel him in as he does write well in spurts. It just did not work for me as I guess I'm more of a Chuck Klosterman or P.J. O'Rourke fan when it comes to essayists on modern culture.
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