I feel torn about David Foster Wallace. I don't think there's much disputing that he was the most brilliant writer of his generation (Franzen, Moody, Chabon, Sparks), but what does that mean? I struggled through his massive, definitive novel "Infinite Jest," respecting it without particularly liking it. I greatly prefer his essays, collected in "Consider the Lobster" and "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again." "The Broom of the System" is his first novel and it came out when he was only in his 20s. Set in the bland, yet quietly strange Midwest that he loved, it's more conventional and manageable (only 467 pages!) than "Infinite Jest," but it's hardly a page-turner and his formidable intelligence (and vocabulary) is evident. I'd also recommend the recent film about him, "The End of the Tour, in which Jason Segel does a surprisingly credible job of playing DFW. Aside from "Jest, he'd only write one more novel, the incomplete "The Pale King."
David Foster Wallace shines in his first novel, demonstrating all the quirky characters, offbeat plotlines, and highly detailed systems, The Broom of the System is a novel of crisis, with the protagonist Lenore battling family, lovers, and pets. A great entry point for anyone looking to explore DFW. Though the ending may drive you mad.
First novel by DFW. Amusing and challenging. Worth reading if you are interested.
I was curious about DFW, yet "Infinite Jest" just seemed WAY too long for an introduction. His debut novel, "Broom of The System", answered my questions. Great writing, interspersed with experimental, tedious, italics stream-of-consciousness that I found myself skipping through. He obviously knew a lot about psychoanalysis and philosophy. I get it, but think I'm done. Isn't brevity the soul of wit?
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