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A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again


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* Full-colour poster featuring backlist * Review and feature coverage in the national and style press * Selected bound proof mailing * Sales presenter

About the Author

David Foster Wallace is the author of the novels THE BROOM OF THE SYSTEM (Abacus pb August 1997) and INFINITE JEST (L,B hb 1996, Abacus pb June 1997) and the short story collection GIRL WITH CURIOUS HAIR (Abacus pb November 1997)


This collection of eight diverse articles, following on the heels of Foster's immense, popular novel, Infinite Jest (LJ 1/96), opens with "Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley," an autobiographical sketch that skillfully interweaves mathematics and tennis with the vicissitudes of Midwestern meteorology. A brilliant analysis of television's role in popular culture, a look at the Illinois State Fair, a review of filmmaker David Lynch, and a report on Wallace's week-long adventure on a luxury cruise are among the pieces that follow. Wallace's style is highly personal‘some might say eccentric‘but his writing is always intelligent, witty, and engaging. Libraries serving discriminating readers will want this book in their collections..‘William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY

'It's the kind of book you can't even put down while brushing your teeth. He's damn good. I take my hat off to him.' GUARDIAN 'Enviably good.' SUNDAY TIMES 'Like sea air, David Foster Wallace is so bracing.' GLASGOW HERALD 'Brilliant.' MAXIM 'There is an astounding amount of freshness, wit and insight here.' GQ 'An exploding star of a novel' SPECTATOR

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. (Feb.)

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