Essays are for cowards…
Author: David Foster Wallace
I’ll never read Infinite Jest. Although I consider myself a David Foster Wallace fan, I am certain that I’ll never be brave enough to crack open his magnum opus. The novel – published in 1996 and clocking in at a hefty 1100 pages – has achieved the distinction of being both despised by some and anointed as one of the greatest works of the 20th century by others. But despite my literary cowardice I’m still intrigued by the late author’s creative approach to the written word. Thankfully, the man left behind more than just 15 pound novels. Consider the Lobster is a collection of ten essays he published in 2005 that displays his unique genius – for both better and worse.
Published previously between 1994 and 2005 in various periodicals, the essays span a wide array of topics and consistently display DFW’s inimitable, heavily footnoted style. Highlights include a ruthless review of tennis phenom Tracy Austin’s autobiography, a lengthy award-winning account of his time on the campaign bus during John McCain’s 2000 bid for the Republican presidential nomination and quite possibly the best (and longest) review of a dictionary ever to appear in the English language. The author’s ability to make the tangential fascinating never ceases to amaze.