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Both Flesh and Not: Essaysby David Foster Wallace
Synopses & Reviews
Beloved for his epic agony, brilliantly discerning eye, and hilarious and constantly self-questioning tone, David Foster Wallace was heralded by both critics and fans as the voice of a generation. Both Flesh and Not gathers 15 essays never published in book form, including "Federer Both Flesh and Not," considered by many to be his nonfiction masterpiece; "The (As it Were) Seminal Importance of Terminator 2," which deftly dissects James Cameron's blockbuster; and "Fictional Futures and the Conspicuously Young," an examination of television's effect on a new generation of writers.
A sweeping, exhilarating collection of the author's most emotionally immediate work, Both Flesh and Not spans almost 20 years of Wallace's career and reminds us why A.O. Scott called him "The Best Mind of His Generation" (New York Times).
"Now that Wallace's unfinished novel The Pale King has been published posthumously, the inevitable trawl of his uncollected writings may begin in earnest and, as is the case here, it will inevitably yield both dingers and duds. His writings on subjects ranging from the U.S. Open to Zbigniew Herbert, the AIDS virus to Terminator 2, display, yet again, Wallace's genuine and infectious love for obsessive human endeavors as disparate as pro tennis, analytic philosophy, and pure math. However, for all the gems, a few essays are simply too slight to merit inclusion, while others such as 'Fictional Futures and the Conspicuously Young' have the sort of precociously earnest tone that makes one wonder how happy Wallace would have been about their inclusion. Despite this, the opening essay 'Federer Both Flesh And Not' by itself is worth the price of admission. If to that one adds 'The Nature of the Fun' (his essay on writing fiction) and 'Deciderization 2007 — A Special Report' (his introduction to The Best American Essays 2007), the collection already beats most competitors hands down. There is a rare pleasure in reading Wallace at his best. As he writes of Roger Federer: 'Genius is not replicable. Inspiration, though, is contagious and multiform.'" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
David Foster Wallace wrote the novels The Pale King, Infinite Jest, and The Broom of the System and the story collections Oblivion, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, and Girl With Curious Hair. His nonfiction includes Consider the Lobster, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, Everything and More, and This Is Water. He died in 2008.
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