Jennifer Reese
March 14, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Consider the Lobster

Current Status
In Season
David Foster Wallace
Little, Brown and Company
Nonfiction, Essays

We gave it an A-

Fans of David Foster Wallace’s manic, copiously footnoted journalism have probably sought out many of these pieces, which first appeared, as the author puts it, ”in edited, heavily edited, or (in at least one instance) bowdlerized form” in magazines like Gourmet and Harper’s. In Consider the Lobster, the essays are restored to their original prolix glory. Wallace seems capable of riffing endlessly and hilariously on just about any subject, however absurd, from the Adult Video News Awards (it ”resembles nothing so much as an obscene and extremely well-funded high school assembly”) to tennis star Tracy Austin’s ”breathtakingly insipid” autobiography. But when he finds a subject he can take even semiseriously, Wallace ascends to new heights. In his best piece, ”Up, Simba,” he tries to pinpoint exactly what made John McCain’s 2000 presidential bid so ”riveting and unspinnable and true,” a question that leads to brilliant and provocative reflections on cynicism, leadership, and contemporary American politics. A-

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