4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Consider the Lobster: And Other Essays (Hardcover)
David Foster Wallace is good at delving into the imponderable. I particularly enjoyed his book about the history of the contemplation of infinity (Everything and More). Here he takes on similarly heady topics, with some lighter themes mixed in.
One standout is the title essay, which explores the issue of animal sentience, the question being whether the inner life of a lobster is anything remotely like the inner life of a human. There is simply no answer to this question, and philosophers who have tackled the question in recent years have bungled it extremely badly. Consequently the most one can do is to contemplate the implications of certain answers, and DFW's essay on the topic is as good as any I've come across.
Perhaps the only thing more impenetrable than the mind of a lobster is the mind of John McCain. Here's a guy who is so principled that he apparently refused to be released from a P.O.W. camp because it violated the letter of military policy. Yet he can be seen regularly cowtowing to the likes of Jerry Falwell and G.W. Bush just to gain a few points with the lunatic fringe of the religious right. DFW followed McCain during the 2000 campaign, and his essay comes as close as is logically possible to explaining how these various attitudes can inhabit the same brain.
DFW's writing style is not for everyone. If you're a fan of Hemingway you might find that it makes your head hurt.