A cult above the rest

Whether discussing the lexicon of pornography or 9/11, David Foster Wallace’s collection of essays, Consider the Lobster, is a tour de force, says Robert McCrum.”

From The Guardian:

David_foster_wallaceIs he a philosopher or a novelist? An essayist or a teller of tall tales? What none of the above even hints at is that, first and last, Wallace is also a sublimely funny writer, both ha-ha and peculiar. So if you have been wondering how to limber up for the 1,000 pages of Infinite Jest, you could do a lot worse than take a look at this collection of ‘essays and arguments’.

Consider the Lobster offers an exhilarating short-cut to the mind of a writer for whom autocastration is a good reason to investigate ‘adult entertainment’, who swears once a year not to get angry and self-righteous about the misuse of the possessive apostrophe, or the serial comma, and who is happy to devote 3,000 words to Kafka’s ‘sense of humour’.

To those who have already met Wallace in books such as A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, this new collection demonstrates a contemporary American master working at the extreme edge of the radar, asking question after question about the mad, mad world in which he finds himself.

How else to encompass a book that segues from 9/11 to Tracy Austin and then back to Dostoevsky and Senator John McCain?

More here.