- Paperback: 343 pages
- Publisher: Back Bay Books (July 2, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316013323
- ISBN-13: 978-0316013321
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (221 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Consider the Lobster and Other Essays
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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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Bookmarks Magazine
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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Slightly more specifically. The non-fiction essays were written (except for one in 1994) from 1998 through 2005. The subjects are: Words, language, literature, teaching, writing, thinking, lying, entertainment, sports, celebrity, politics, food, small towns, Las Vegas, pornography, morality, talk radio; and of course the people and personalities that make up those places, industries, and things ... in other words: What it is to be human in America at the turn of this millennium. Do I always agree with him? No. For example, in "Up, Simba," about John McCain and the GOP primary of 2000 he writes about the decision to vote or not (something I have written about myself) and I agree with him--not voting is actually a vote for the status quo. And this, in the same essay, hits home:
" ... getting lied to sucks - that it diminishes you, denies you respect for yourself, for the liar, for the world. Especially if the lies are chronic, systemic, if experience seems to teach that everything you're supposed to believe in's really just a game based on lies." (pg. 189)
Yes, David; but just what game are you talking about? ( I was living just a few miles away from him when he killed himself. And before his death I had never heard of him. I feel - like I lost something, something that I'll never have the opportunity to experience ever again.) [If you're into the ins-n-outs of lying, check out my blog @ markjabbour.com (coming in mid July 2011). Lying is one of my favorite subjects.] So how does Wallace reconcile that with this: The senior ladies, his neighbors in Bloomington, Indiana, on September 11, 2001 were innocent. He says. Not stupid but innocent. I get his point, but I disagree. No adult in America is innocent. Children are innocent; but in a democracy that stands for freedom and equal rights, every citizen, especially the older you get and the more you benefit from that freedom - is not innocent but responsible. Ahhh, but these are the contradictions that drove Wallace, ultimately I think, to take his own life. He asked questions, the right questions, he studied the problems and asked more questions. And more than any other, he could put it all down on paper so as not to offended or rankle or make defensive - but to make people think. Which is, arguably (which he does) a good thing, right?
Also a great introduction to his work prior to the dear reader diving headlong into "Infinite Jest,"
In this particular collection, mostly journalistic-type pieces, some essays are more compelling than others - an outsider's view of the porn version of the Oscar's is a highlight, while an abstruse treatise that is ostensibly a review of a writing style guide is difficult to wade through even for linguistic enthusiasts. As a whole I would rate it highly, though, especially for those who want some quality reading without having to commit to a full novel (I found it a pleasant distraction during a plane ride and while waiting at the DMV, for example)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was a painful, yet enjoyable and often funny read.