With the recent and sudden passing of author David Foster Wallace, I decided to repost my review of his book, Consider the Lobster. I wrote this only a couple of months ago, but it is bizarre to think how much has changed. I was looking forward to reading the works of DFW for the rest of my life. Now I'll just have to re-explore his past works. Hopefully, this will motivate some people who never read DFW to go pick up one of this works.
Consider The Lobster by David Foster Wallace
One of the joys of my college experience was learning that I didn't have to take a math requirement. As a result I picked up a class titled Contemporary American Short Story. That class, ended up being one of my favorite during my time at college, and one of its lasting impressions was my introduction to David Foster Wallace. DFW has become one of my favorite authors and has the literary work to back it up.
His latest installment, Consider the Lobster, finds the always enlightening and entertaining DFW tackling everything from porn awards to John McCain on the campaign trail. He can write as intellectually and dramatically whether he is discussing double penetration shots or the lull of redundant speeches. The manner in which he, almost easily, transitions from a place of pure absurdity to the heights of intellectual prose is as impressive as it is depressing.
While the lyrical gymnastics DFW goes through makes you love to read his essays, at the same time, any one with any hope of ever publishing anything has to leave disheartened as DFW is certainly the foremost stylistic writer out there. You think he is just writing stream of thought through the way he presents himself, but when you take in the essays as a whole you realize that each piece of writing is incredibly intricate and imaginative that no human could spout out such words in such a format.
For people that aren't familiar with DFW, I probably wouldn't recommend starting with this book, but if you do, you'll know from the first story (the one about the porn awards) whether you're on board or not. The constant footnotes and long digressions could frustrate one that is not ready to commit fully to such a reading, and the reading only gets more difficult as the book progresses.
This book ranks up there with DFW finest works. If you are willing to commit to the reading and want to enjoy great essays on a wide variety of subjects, then give this book a go around.
For the ratings system I wanted to do something different than simple numbers. I want a symbol, like "Two Thumbs Up" like that. So I decided to flip the script. I'm using a symbol, but not a positive symbol. As a result of using a negative symbol instead of a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the best, one is the best because more of a negative thing would be bad. Follow?
So, what's something bad, related to books that I can rate these things with? Papercuts. Done.