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.)
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--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Its a well-accepted proposition that Wallace, a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant recipient, is one of the most brilliant essayists alive. But its another matter altogether whether his workat once luminous, provocative, digressive, and frustratingfinds the audience it deserves. Like Infinite Jest (1996) and A Supposedly Fun Thing Ill Never Do Again (1997), this collection showcases Wallaces love of language, emotional IQ, and curiosity about the world (and the starlets who populate it). His trademark footnotes, essays in themselves, rarely fail to entertainif you can follow them. But a few critics ask whether this collection exhibits more high jinks than actual intellectual insight; the arrows and boxed comments in the essay "Host," for example, may just obscure a Very Important Point. But that may be the pointto get you thinking about much more than the lobster.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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