Joni's Reviews > Consider the Lobster and Other Essays

Consider the Lobster and Other Essays by David Foster Wallace
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's review
Aug 02, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: howling-fantods
Read on August 09, 2012

Non-fiction; in the best of these essays, DFW channels Tom Wolfe's adventurous journalism chops by getting amongst the porn industry at the AVN Awards in Las Vegas (where he seems a little more prudish than I would've thought - I wonder if he's read Infinite Jest? - but then I guess there's porn, and being utterly surrounded by porn for days, in Vegas), derails a commissioned piece for Gourmet magazine about a seaside lobster festival by putting some serious thought into the ethics of it all, gets amongst literary criticism from Updike and Kafka to ghost-written tennis biographies, and in "Up, Simba" conveys the experience of the McCain2000 campaign trail with clarity, balance, and insight, succeeding where Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail failed generations earlier.

On the other hand, "Authority and American Usage" and "Host" (about modern grammar and LA talkback radio respectively) I found were just too much, too densely written for me not to skip over after about twenty pages effort to each (and I finished Infinite Jest) especially as I didn't see any particularly interesting thoughts emerging that I didn't have in my brain already. It's ironic that the essays about communication are the ones that are the most difficult to read and draw meaning from. This may or may not be intentional - I wouldn't put it past him.
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10/14/2016 marked as: read

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