Friday, July 8, 2011

Book Review-Consider The Lobster And Other Essays (2005) by David Foster Wallace

My son Brian's favorite author is David Foster Wallace. His novel, Infinite Jest, is considered a modern classic, and is Brian's favorite.

I will have to admit. Looking at the size of the book (1104 pages), and knowing how long it took Brian (a voracious reader) to read it, I am pretty intimidated by Infinite Jest. But I wanted to learn more about David Foster Wallace, and sample his writing.

Consider The Lobster was a perfect entree into David Foster Wallace's writing. It is a collection of ten of his essays originally published in magazine's such as Harper's and Rolling Stone.

Each essay could be considered a sampling of American culture. The title essay, Consider The Lobster, was originally published in Gourmet Magazine, and describes the annual Maine Lobster Fest. The most intriguing part of this writing is Mr. Wallace's discussion of the ethics of boiling lobsters alive, and whether they actually feel pain or not. It definitely forces the reader to become introspective as it relates to the preparation of one of the World's favorite delicacies.

My favorite essay of the ten in this book is Mr. Wallace's review of the late 1970's, early 1980's tennis star Tracy Austin's autobiography. Entitled "How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart", this essay is not so much a criticism of Ms. Austin's book (of which Mr. Wallace gives a very poor review) but rather an overall indictment of the fluff sports biography genre.

I would have like to meet David Foster Wallace, but sadly he hung himself to death in September of 2008 at the age of 46. Apparently Mr. Wallace suffered from severe depression. I found myself connecting with Mr. Wallace ideologically as I read this book.

There are plenty of other published works by Mr. Wallace for me to read, and I plan on doing just that. And yes, I am going to read Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace's seminal work.

Consider the Lobster: And Other EssaysConsider the Lobster: And Other Essays by David Foster Wallace
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great sampling of David Foster Wallace's work-I am now going to attack Infinite Jest! My full review:

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