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The Broom of the System: A Novel Paperback – Deckle Edge, May 25, 2004
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From Library Journal
The year is 1990, and the place Cleveland. Lenore Beadsman works as a telephone operator for Frequent and Vigorous Publishers. Her roommate's name is Candy Mandible, their parrot is Vlad the Impaler, there is a Judith Prietht, and businesses have names like Hunt and Peck. Lenore's great-grandmother and several cronies disappear from their nursing home, and the search for them leads across the Great Ohio Desert (G.O.D.). The novel is largely dialogue, much of it quite funny and perceptive. Obviously not aimed at the Danielle Steel or Robert Ludlum crowds, Wallace's book will appeal to people his age (mid-20s) and to older readers who enjoy trying the unfamiliar. Libraries serving such patrons should consider it. Mary K. Prokop, CEL Regional Lib., Savannah, Ga.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Daring, hilarious... a zany picaresque adventure of contemporary America run amok." —The New York Times
"Wonderful... a cathartic experience with lots of laughs and lots of deeper meanings." —The Washington Post Book World
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I can't tell you how many times I've read this book or others from DFW. It's an incredible experience, provided that you actually like the way that the man wrote. I say that because not everyone WILL like the way that he wrote. Just look at the 1 star reviews for proof.
Yes, he uses some unfamiliar words and writes sentences that go on for pages, but he tells stories (most based on some true event that occurred plus a lot of imagination and coloration) that really capture the human experience and tell "the story" in compassionate, entertaining ways. We all know people who are just exactly like someone that DFW wrote about, and once you get the intent of his writing, and the cadence, you might just find DFW's mind to have been a creative, articulate place.
Books, like movies, art, food, music and wine, do NOT resonate equally with everyone. People who don't appreciate Premier Cru Bordeaux probably won't drink more than one sip before moving on to something that appeals to them. But if you "don't get Bordeaux", that doesn't mean that it's garbage, it just means that it doesn't appeal to you. Hey, you're entitled not to like it.
Similarly, I can't read John Le Carre. Millions of other people can, but I can't. Le Carre doesn't write garbage, he is well loved by the people who find that his writing resonates with them. It's just that he doesn't reach me, and that's that, so I move on.
My best advice to you is to try some of DFW's shorter works first before you invest time and energy in "Broom" or "Infinite Jest".
I wish you way more than luck!
In reading Wallace, don't try to figure out where he's going; rather spend your time figuring out where he's already taken you. Keep track of all the minutiae because you will need it to put the puzzle together after you have finished the reading. Closing the cover is not the end of the story. You get to finish it from all the clues he has given you along the way.
If you have not read any of his stuff, start here or with some of his short stories rather than Infinite Jest. And - keep your mind open and brain in gear. I think you'll like it.
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