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A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments Paperback – February 2, 1998
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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David Foster Wallace made quite a splash in 1996 with his massive novel, Infinite Jest. Now he's back with a collection of essays entitled A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. In addition to a razor-sharp writing style, Wallace has a mercurial mind that lights on many subjects. His seven essays travel from a state fair in Illinois to a cruise ship in the Caribbean, explore how television affects literature and what makes film auteur David Lynch tick, and deconstruct deconstructionism and find the intersection between tornadoes and tennis.
These eclectic interests are enhanced by an eye (and nose) for detail: "I have seen sucrose beaches and water a very bright blue. I have seen an all-red leisure suit with flared lapels. I have smelled what suntan lotion smells like spread over 21,000 pounds of hot flesh . . ." It's evident that Wallace revels in both the life of the mind and the peculiarities of his fellows; in A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again he celebrates both. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Like the tennis champs who fascinate him, novelist Wallace (Infinite Jest; The Broom of the System) makes what he does look effortless and yet inspired. His instinct for the colloquial puts his masters Pynchon and DeLillo to shame, and the humane sobriety that he brings to his subjects-fictional or factual-should serve as a model to anyone writing cultural comment, whether it takes the form of stories or of essays like these. Readers of Wallace's fiction will take special interest in this collection: critics have already mined "Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley" (Wallace's memoir of his tennis-playing days) for the biographical sources of Infinite Jest. The witty, insightful essays on David Lynch and TV are a reminder of how thoroughly Wallace has internalized the writing-and thinking-habits of Stanley Cavell, the plain-language philosopher at Harvard, Wallace's alma mater. The reportage (on the Illinois State Fair, the Canadian Open and a Caribbean Cruise) is perhaps best described as post-gonzo: funny, slight and self-conscious without Norman Mailer's or Hunter Thompson's braggadocio. Only in the more academic essays, on Dostoyevski and the scholar H.L. Hix, does Wallace's gee-whiz modesty get in the way of his arguments. Still, even these have their moments: at the end of the Dostoyevski essay, Wallace blurts out that he wants "passionately serious ideological contemporary fiction [that is] also ingenious and radiantly transcendent fiction." From most writers, that would be hot air; from one as honest, subtle and ambitious as Wallace, it has the sound of a promise.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
"A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again"
"Getting Away from Being Pretty Much Away from It All"
and the essay on Michael Joyce.
Its extremely sad to see such a talented writer die young. This is a good book but not great only because there are a few doozies in here. Definitely, definitely read the three chapters above for a hilarious look at cruise lines, an anthropological study of "white trash" at the Illinois State Fair, and a behind the scenes look at tennis stars who never hit the spotlight. Dead on.
His essay detailing his cruise is reason enough to take a gander, but it his finely honed take on the craft of writer/director David Lynch and on the art and science of television that are clearly the most brilliant. Rarely does one stumble upon someone who so gets the essence and spot-on analysis of pop culture and delivers it so artfully.
An absolute MUST READ for any fan of DFW and/or of pop culture.
To be sure, some essays covered topics that didn't interest me, but even here, Wallace can edify and entertain.
I have already re-read it many times. How much I will miss his voice! I always had his next book to look forward to until his untimely tragic death. America lost its finest contemporary writer and cultural critic.
I would not hesitate to recommend this seller to a friend.