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Consider the Lobster: And Other Essays Paperback – Jul 2 2007
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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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I wanted so much to like this and other books by Wallace, but I only came away feeling sorry for him. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent introduction to DFW, I became wholly engaged in his very thought-provoking, highly detailed stories.Published 3 months ago by J Lange
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