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Oblivion: Stories Paperback – August 30, 2005
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From Bookmarks Magazine
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
A prime example of all things Wallace is this collection's opening story, "Mr. Squishy," which is about 65 pages long but reads like at least 100. In one respect, this story is an insider's view of the ad industry, complete with descriptions of various market research strategies and examinations of the minutest details of a focus group assembled to test out a new snack cake. On another level, though, the story examines the professional and personal frustrations of its protagonist, a focus-group coordinator who could be a symbol for any number of inconsequential white-collar workers the world over. And of course, there's some trademark Wallace weirdness in the form of a costumed wall-climber with some bad intentions and a highly ambiguous ending that resolves exactly nothing.Read more ›
This is, unfortunately, only half the truth, because there really are magical moments in Wallace's writing, and just when you're about to get absolutely fed up with him he pulls out something beautiful, or shocking, that for whatever reason stays with you. Even in a two page story like "Incarnations of Burned Children" I went through all of the probable reactions to the stories in this volume: initial interest, confusion with the prose style, impatience, boredom, and then suddenly a moment where the story seems to open up and become incredibly moving.
The story is about a mother accidentally scalding her toddler, and is told in the long clause-filled breathless sentences that Wallace uses - with occasional good taste.Read more ›
Sure, you could hand me any snippet from Oblivion without telling me what it was and I could identify his writing style after the 2nd or 3rd abutting dependent clause, but so what? I love his subordinate-within-subordinate-within-subordinate style. It how I generally think and I suspect it's how most of us think. So while critics harrumph, all DFW is really doing is writing in a kind of mental dialect, instead of the processed cheese most writers give us. If it's not as quickly accessible as other writers' narrators' prose, it's more real and incredibly worth the little extra effort it takes to get at what he's saying.
"Good Old Neon" is my favorite. Since the whole story comes spilling out of, ostensibly, Neal's head, DFW has pretty much free rein to use his faux stream-of-consciousness style to its opitmum and he absolutely shines. Few of DFW's characters are ever flat, symbolic, or caracatures, and I think Neal is one of the most fleshed-out DFW has ever come up with. The fact that the listener, the supposed DFW himself, is aware that Neal is his own construct, coming out of his fiction-prone mind as he wonders about his old classmate, doubles the irony. After Neal got done explaining why he did it and what it was like to die, I realized this was one of the most affirming stories I have read by DFW. The ending is incredibly positive and one that only DFW could've come up with; it shows the only way out of Neal's fatal "fraudulence paradox.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Must I review everything, Bezos? What difference will my four star - because five seems sycophantic and would obviously be seen by more people - review of a few short stories... Read morePublished 19 days ago by Amazon Customer
The first story of this book is about the focus groups and the expertize. After Wallace introduces several facts no very clear by a traditional view, but those have a significate... Read morePublished 24 days ago by Edoardo Angeloni
I do not know how he does it. I wonder why I am reading it and can't bring myself to stop. No s***.Published 6 months ago by Kindle Customer
This book is fantastic. By far my favorite story in here is Good Old Neon, but there's not a story in the bunch that won't leave you befuddled in some kind of deep existential... Read morePublished 7 months ago by KS
Dark genius. By turns the stories are hilarious, microscopically detailed and utterly horrifying.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
Not his best work. These stories drag and are excessively long and Mhard to follow.Published 7 months ago by Kindle Customer
Of the eight stories in this collection, three of the long ones use a technique I’ve not seen in literature before. (First three titles in the review header here. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Patrican
I have a mixed reaction to this my first encounter with D. F. Wallace's fiction. I'll begin with the praise. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Neil Shephard