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Oblivion

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  10,988 ratings  ·  782 reviews
In the stories that make up Oblivion, David Foster Wallace joins the rawest, most naked humanity with the infinite involutions of self-consciousness--a combination that is dazzlingly, uniquely his. These are worlds undreamt-of by any other mind. Only David Foster Wallace could convey a father's desperate loneliness by way of his son's daydreaming through a teacher's homici ...more
Paperback, 329 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Back Bay Books (first published 2004)
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David My suggestion is to start with the beginning. "Mister Squishy" showcases DFW's ability to evoke humor from banal events such as a focus group meeting.…moreMy suggestion is to start with the beginning. "Mister Squishy" showcases DFW's ability to evoke humor from banal events such as a focus group meeting. It is the second-longest story in the book. If you find yourself struggling to get through it, I suggest you set the book aside for the rest of the day and then read only a page or two per day after that. You might find that the depth and density of his prose begins to grow on you and you find your reading sessions stretching into the hours. (less)

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Samadrita
Caution:- Long review ahead.

I finally understand what the word 'tedium' means. Interestingly enough I have neither associated this particular term with books making use of the much revered and equally feared stream-of-consciousness as a narrative device nor with hefty tomes worth more than 1000 pages.

But getting through even 1 page of DFW's writing requires a Herculean effort on the reader's part. Wallace commands your undivided attention and let's say if you are demanding the luxury of a split
...more
Oriana
Jan 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Oh boy. Oh man, do I have a lot to say about this here book. I can't even begin to tackle it as a whole entity, so I'm going to do a review of each story, unless I get tired and have to smoosh.

Also: I am the kind of person who listens to all my music on shuffle, which means I clearly have no respect for the artist's conception of a complete work. Consequently I read these stories totally out of order, and will review them the same way.

"The Suffering Channel" and "Mister Squishy"
I think these a
...more
MJ Nicholls
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t think collections serve Foster Wallace well: it seems to me his stories would read better as stand-alones on some thoroughly modern internet webshite, with accompanying artwork or explanatory hyperlinks, rather than modishly festering on some fading acid paper alongside all the other fuddy-duddies. (PS Abacus, your paper is cheap and lousy). Case in point is ‘Mister Squishy,’ which seems to cry out for its own accompanying glossary, appended addenda and so on, but sits uneasily on the pa ...more
Darwin8u
May 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
"What goes on inside is just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of at most one tiny little part of it at any given instant."
- David Foster Wallace, Oblivion

Let me get my biases out in the open. I love DFW. I have to be careful somedays to not fall-down and worship his novels. Wallace's nonfiction talent also hits me as evidence that the universe is not even slightly fair. But, I've always been just a little unsettled (and occasionally f
...more
Roula
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
μολις τελειωσα την ιστορια "παλιο καλο νεον", μακραν η καλυτερη ως τωρα...τι βασανισμενο μυαλο αυτος ο ανθρωπος , ωστοσο μονο τετοια μυαλα και ψυχες ξερουν να γραφουν τετοιες ιστοριες...υποκλινομαι..
Oscar
Lo que está claro es que los libros de David Foster Wallace, o te gustan o no te gustan. Personalmente, prefiero cuando le da más importancia al fondo de la historia, que a la forma de contarla. Cuando no me gusta es cuando experimenta. En este sentido, 'Extinción' es el libro que más me ha gustado por ahora de DFW.

La característica más destacable de la escritura de DFW no es su calidad literaria, que la tiene y mucha, ni las historias que cuenta, que son magníficas, todo un prodigio de imaginac
...more
Leo Robertson
Jul 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For we die every day; oblivion thrives
Not on dry thighbones but on blood-ripe lives,
And our best yesterdays are now foul piles
Of crumpled names, phone numbers and foxed files.

- from Nabokov's Pale Fire

RE-READ:

Read this for the third time recently. It wasn't pleasant. Not to say the stories were affecting; it was just tedious. Part stories, part phonebook. Nuts!

It's asking more of a book than most people would, that it holds up on a third reading. Certainly parts of Mr Squishy, The Soul Is Not A
...more
Scribble Orca
Aug 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
)(^*&^%$*^#$$)*($*(%*(_Q_^*#%&^!

Oblivion - consigned to, by some class act who deleted the pdf and the accompanying seven reviews and 103 ratings of Good Old Neon without the simple foresight to MERGE said pdf listing with the final collection (and for those of you who don't think it was sufficient as a standalone check out the Mighty Jumbuck's review of this listing) of join-the-dots-as-stories by DFW.

Read no further if you've read already (with apologies to the appreciated commenters w
...more
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
From my favorite story, "Good Old Neon":

"What goes on inside is just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of at most one tiny little part of it at any given instant."

Oblivion is not as consistently solid as his first short stories collection Girl With Curious Hair, but hands down is amazing nonetheless.

Only slight complaint: The very first story is a bit difficult as it's loaded with corporate marketing, PR and advertising jargon, but it
...more
Jimmy
If nothing else, this book really made me think. Maybe even over-think. This book invites it. There is a lot to mull over in each of these stories, and DFW is very rarely direct about anything, preferring to leave clues along the way.

I think it’s interesting that each story has its own specific vocabulary and/or verbal tics from Mister Squishy's ad agency lingo to Oblivion’s strange use of latin/pace/'air-quotes' to Suffering Channel’s magazine-speak; it’s almost as if the characters in one sto
...more
Franco  Santos
2.5

Señor Blandito: No me gustó en absoluto. Creo que es el relato más pesado, insufrible y lento que he leído en mi vida. Admiro muchísimo la capacidad que tenía Wallace para analizar y describir hasta la más ínfima minucia; sin embargo, fue tanto lo que desmembró y analizó que mi voluntad para seguir pasando la página quedó gravemente herida. Pude terminarlo, pero el daño ya estaba hecho. No se lo recomiendo a nadie: un hastío interminable. (1.5/5).

El alma no es una forja: Me gustó. Es interesa
...more
Neil
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Might there ever be any questions you yourself wish to ask?”

“Consciousness is nature’s nightmare"

In the first two short stories DFW gave voice to the consequences born from living in the pressure cooker of boredom and routine. Following that was the theme of self-awareness and the powers it gives us along with the suffering that follows.

---

Challenges throughout the book ranged from having to keep track of three or more story lines at once to dealing with names like Ellen Bactrain. Is it pronoun
...more
Nate D
May 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Nate D by: Anne, again.
David Foster Wallace inspires many complaints -- he is overly self-conscious, he abuses the footnote, he is at times impenetrable -- but here happily, none of these are especially true. Even the post-modern playfulness is reigned in somewhat. Unlike the layered interviews and broken portraits of Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, these are more properly stories (or even novellas, perhaps, as many are quite lengthy), winding and carefully plotted, and fully invested in the narrative. Only a singl ...more
Mohamad
ترجمه ی فوق العاده عجیب و بد كتاب شبیه ترجمه های گوگل ترنسلیت هست. برای مترجم و انتشارات واقعا متاسفم

 از صفحه ی 278:
به خاطر طرز عكس العمل مشهود بعضی از همسفرانمون وقتی سوار میشن و همونطور كه شروع میكنن به راه رفتن توی راهرو به طرف یه صندلی عمل ظاهرا واكنشی انداختن نگاه كوتاهی به صورت هایی رو انجام میدن كه توی ردیف های باریك صندلی ها كه در طول اتوبوس به عقب كشیده شده ن روبروی اون ها هستن و ناگهان صورت بادكرده و بی صدا جیغ كشان مادر رو میبینن كه انگار با وحشت جنون آمیز به اون ها 
خیره شده

از صفحه ی
...more
Hannah Garden
Apr 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I've only got a few pages left of the last story in this collection and the whole thing has just been so excruciatingly beautiful I am almost palpably sad to see its end approach. That the guy whose mind from whence this sprung had to want to die so bad is just the worst the worst the worst.

Done. Buh. So sad.
Patryx
I racconti di Oblio, molto diversi per stile e per lunghezza (si va dalle quattro pagine di Incarnazioni di bambini bruciati a brevi romanzi di un centinaio di pagine), sembrano avere come denominatore comune la disillusione e la rassegnazione dell’età adulta.
Se ne La scopa del sistema c’è l’onnipotenza giovanile di chi pensa di poter superare tutti problemi e di poter provare infinite sperimentazioni; se in Infinite Jest c’è la consapevolezza di chi di chi ha dovuto lottare e soffrire per giun
...more
Sentimental Surrealist
Author's note: review and rating both subject to change. I've already bumped it a star; the second will depend on what a rereading of the title story brings.

You know, I hate to say this about my favorite author, but a lot of this book is just kind of... boring. "The Suffering Channel" and "Oblivion" are the two problem children here, taking up about 130 pages of space; they desperately need the human touch Wallace applies to his distinct brand of experimental fiction. I get that they're transiti
...more
Ubik 2.0
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tracce di informazioni annidate

Ancora non ho letto “Ogni storia d’amore è una storia di fantasmi” la biografia a cura di D.T.Max, ma immagino che quando Wallace pubblicò “Oblìo” (2004) fosse all’apice della carriera, disponendo di un potere editoriale sufficiente ad imporre l’ordine degli otto racconti da lui scelto, senza censure o interventi esterni.

Se ciò è vero, mi sono chiesto perché l’autore decise di introdurre il libro con Mister Squishy, una delle opere “wallaciane” più complicate, fati
...more
Celeste - Una stanza tutta per me
A proposito, lo so che questa parte è noiosa e probabilmente ti annoia, ma si fa assai più interessante quando arrivo alla parte in cui mi uccido e scopro quello che succede subito dopo che una persona muore.

Quanto a lungo si può descrivere un momento? Quanto dettagliatamente, finemente, esaustivamente si può sperare di raccontarlo? Soprattutto: a che scopo?
A tratti Foster Wallace in questo può sembrare pedante e logorroico - siamo onesti, lo è -, ciò non implica una scrittura meno magistrale o
...more
David
Jul 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-fiction
“People Prefer Electric Shock to Thinking: Study” was the way they put it in the New York Post only a few days ago. Whether these click- and tenure-bait studies are worth the time and energy it takes read about them is an excellent question, but assuming that this particular one is, the world reaction could probably be divided into two categories: non-readers of DF Wallace, and readers of same. The former may have snorted derisively, rolled their eyes, or lamented (silently or aloud) the state o ...more
Núria
Sep 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Raül
Mi DFW favorito hasta la fecha. Antes de leer 'Extinción', David Foster Wallace me gustaba: escribía bien, era postmoderno, original y divertido, pero sus cuentos eran sólo anécdotas, algunas más incisivas que otras, pero anécdotas al fin y al cabo. En cambio 'Extinción' va mucho más allá. Sus cuentos alcanzan una profundidad impresionante y, detrás de la anécdota, nos acaba hablando de cosas universales que nos afectan a todos, básicamente acaba hablando del sufrimiento, del horror, de la trage ...more
Corey
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Kind of a mixed bag. The first couple of stories--"Mr. Squishy" and "The Soul Is Not A Smithy"--felt like a bit of a chore, and I don't know that I really understood what Wallace was trying to get at in either of them. The book's title story was also underwhelming.

And yet, a mixed bag for Wallace is of a higher quality than what most writers produce at their best. "Good Old Neon" particularly was a profoundly affecting and evocative piece. I needed to go outside and have a smoke and go to sleep
...more
Aprile
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, 0-gut-emotions
non ce la faccio. che barba, che ansia, che noia, eppure ho già letto "Incarnazioni di bambini bruciati" che a detta di molti può essere considerato come il migliore. Non so se continuare o no, detesto abbandonare i libri ma d'altro canto la scrittura di Wallace non riesce a conquistarmi. Non calco oltremodo la mano, non tingo ulteriormente di nero, per un mio pudore ad esprimere un parere che potrebbe essere superficiale nei confronti dell'opera di un uomo che dal nero del mondo è stato soffoca ...more
Daniel
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
The views expressed in this review are mine and do not represent those of the educated. I probably misinterpreted every story in Oblivion - but it's too late to get smarter now.

Mister Squishy - Read Mister Squishy whilst telling yourself this laborious exercise will be worthwhile, knowing full well you’re kidding yourself. Seriously, it was like reading html. I had Myspace flashbacks.

The Soul Is Not A Smithy -You know when you’re watching a film in the cinema and the last twenty minutes has been
...more
Κατερίνα Μαλακατέ

http://www.diavazontas.blogspot.gr/20...

"The heir apparent to Thomas Pynchon*", λέει η κριτική των Times στο πίσω μέρος του paperback που έχω στα χέρια μου. Κι αν και οι γνώσεις μου για τον Pynchon είναι πολύ περιορισμένες, μιας και οι πρόσφατες προσπάθειες μου με το «Ουράνιο τόξο της βαρύτητας» δεν ξεπέρασαν ποτέ την 50η σελίδα, νιώθω πως ο κριτικός των Times έχει τα δίκια του. Μιλάμε κι εδώ για μια γραφή δύσκολη και συνειρμική, που καθώς προχωρά βυθίζεται στις λεπτομέρειες, με μια αίσθηση σπιρ
...more
Dave
Aug 05, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I get a little depressed after reading DFW books because I realize how far my writing skills fall short. This book is insanely dense and show-offy in the best sense (like when a magician draws attention to himself to fool you...then leaves you breathless after the bangs and flashes). This is a book of short stories, though some should technically be called novellas, each with totally implausible plots...until Wallace pulls it off. Faulknerian sentences were sort of his schtick in Infinite Jest-- ...more
César
Oct 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: relato
"¿Sabéis? ¿Nunca tuvisteis cuando erais pequeñas ese rollo en el que pensabais en vuestra mierda como en vuestro bebé y a veces queríais abrazarla y hablar con ella y casi llorabais y os sentíais culpables por tirar de la cadena, y a veces pensabais en vuestra mierda dentro de una especie de carrito de bebé con un gorrito y un biberón, y a veces os quedabais mirando en el cuarto de baño y os despedíais de ella con la mano, adiooós, mientras se iba, y luego sentíais un vacío?"
Axolotl
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: obtained-2015-bc
Oblivion--it is just the perfect title to unify these strange and maddening gems.
You could really lose yourself in this book, indefinitely, if you're not careful.
Recommended to readers of Postmodernism and Quiet Horror.
David Beavers
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
After I finished reading it a few years ago, this book did not make me sad. Or at least, it made me sad in the way that we like art to make us sad; where we allow ourselves to mistake sadness for poignancy, peaking a flashlight into our dark bits through someone else's work. Now? I don't know how I could re-read this and not feel incredibly saddened. DFW was my favorite living author, just a raging cyclone of genius tearing his way through the short story and laughing (literally?) off the idea o ...more
Doug
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
A lovely collection of short stories that stumbles at first but ends up outstanding.

The first story, "Mister Squishy," is lackluster. It doesn't help that it retreads the same territory, stylistically (but not at all content-wise), as Infinite Jest, which made me concerned that Wallace was a one-trick pony. It is true that every story in this collection has vastly different subject matter in terms of plots and motifs, but what makes Wallace such an interesting writer is the style, and I was worr
...more
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7,640 followers
David Foster Wallace worked surprising turns on nearly everything: novels, journalism, vacation. His life was an information hunt, collecting hows and whys. "I received 500,000 discrete bits of information today," he once said, "of which maybe 25 are important. My job is to make some sense of it." He wanted to write "stuff about what it feels like to live. Instead of being a relief from what it fe ...more
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“What goes on inside is just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of at most one tiny little part of it at any given instant.” 323 likes
“The truth is you already know what it's like. You already know the difference between the size and speed of everything that flashes through you and the tiny inadequate bit of it all you can ever let anyone know. As though inside you is this enormous room full of what seems like everything in the whole universe at one time or another and yet the only parts that get out have to somehow squeeze out through one of those tiny keyholes you see under the knob in older doors. As if we are all trying to see each other through these tiny keyholes.

But it does have a knob, the door can open. But not in the way you think...The truth is you've already heard this. That this is what it's like. That it's what makes room for the universes inside you, all the endless inbent fractals of connection and symphonies of different voices, the infinities you can never show another soul. And you think it makes you a fraud, the tiny fraction anyone else ever sees? Of course you're a fraud, of course what people see is never you. And of course you know this, and of course you try to manage what part they see if you know it's only a part. Who wouldn't? It's called free will, Sherlock. But at the same time it's why it feels so good to break down and cry in front of others, or to laugh, or speak in tongues, or chant in Bengali--it's not English anymore, it's not getting squeezed through any hole.

So cry all you want, I won't tell anybody.”
272 likes
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