Writers: David Foster Wallace

  • Kat Matfield

    Absorbing, demanding, rewarding

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    This took me a month to read and my strongest impulse after reading the last page was to begin again from the start. The book is slow to start, but the sheer volume of details of the world Wallace creates - equal parts strange and familiar, satire and meditation on the possible future - soon becomes irresistable. I've heard it described as maximalist, and I can see why - Wallace gives you vast amounts of information on every facet of the story, some seemingly irrelevant, and more information still in the copious footnotes. It's also a teasing read - you don't know which of this torrent of information will be essential to understand later events and which will deepen your understanding and which is irrelevant (vastly less than you think). Wallace never offers a simple explanation when a slow trickle of information over a hundred pages (which requires the reader to make his/her own connections) is possible. And my, is it deep. There is enough going on in this book to demand ...This took me a month to read and my strongest impulse after reading the last page was to begin again from the start. The book is slow to start, but the sheer volume of details of the world Wallace creates - equal parts strange and familiar, satire and meditation on the possible future - soon becomes irresistable. I've heard it described as maximalist, and I can see why - Wallace gives you vast amounts of information on every facet of the story, some seemingly irrelevant, and more information still in the copious footnotes. It's also a teasing read - you don't know which of this torrent of information will be essential to understand later events and which will deepen your understanding and which is irrelevant (vastly less than you think). Wallace never offers a simple explanation when a slow trickle of information over a hundred pages (which requires the reader to make his/her own connections) is possible. And my, is it deep. There is enough going on in this book to demand rereadings. I came away from the book with the sense I'd only scratched the surface, but without the sense of dissatisfaction that so commonly accompanies this feeling. My overweening impression is one of awe - it's a sprawling, intricate, demanding, comic epic. And the only book that could possible be worth reading 1000 pages. (more)

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