Synopses & Reviews
The publication of his virtuoso novel Infinite Jest
confirmed David Foster Wallace as "one of the big talents of his generation" (The New York Times
). Readers who hunger for more will be richly satisfied by his first novel, The Broom of the System
, a bracingly funny and fiercely original story.
The mysterious disappearance of her great-grandmother and twenty-five other elderly residents from a Shaker Heights nursing home has left Lenore Stonecipher Beadsman emotionally stranded on the edge of the Great Ohio Desert. But that is simply one problem of many for the hapless switchboard operator seriously compounded by her ongoing affair with her boss, Rick Vigorous; the impending TV stardom of her talking cockatiel, Vlad the Impaler, on the Christian Broadcasting Network; and other minor catastrophes that threaten to elevate Lenore's search for love and self-determination to new heights of spasmodic weirdness. Fiercely original, bracingly funny, and deeply mysterious, The Broom of the System is the brilliant precursor to David Foster Wallace's celebrated second novel, Infinite Jest.
"Daring...hilarious...enigmatic...wonderfully odd...a zany picaresque adventure of contemporary America run amok." New York Times
"Dazzling...exhilarating...bizarre...sweepingly successful...engaging and haunting...a remarkable book with a lot of prestidigitation in it....Wallace's talent is consistently impressive." San Francisco Chronicle
Published when Wallace was just twenty-four years old, The Broom of the System stunned critics and marked the emergence of an extraordinary new talent. At the center of this outlandishly funny, fiercely intelligent novel is the bewitching heroine, Lenore Stonecipher Beadsman. The year is 1990 and the place is a slightly altered Cleveland, Ohio. Lenore's great-grandmother has disappeared with twenty-five other inmates of the Shaker Heights Nursing Home. Her beau, and boss, Rick Vigorous, is insanely jealous, and her cockatiel, Vlad the Impaler, has suddenly started spouting a mixture of psycho- babble, Auden, and the King James Bible. Ingenious and entertaining, this debut from one of the most innovative writers of his generation brilliantly explores the paradoxes of language, storytelling, and reality.
About the Author
David Foster Wallace is the author of Infinite Jest, The Girl with Curious Hair, and A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. His nonfiction has appeared in Harper's, Premiere, and Tennis. His stories have been published in The New Yorker, Playboy, Harper's, Paris Review, and Conjunctions. David Foster Wallace has won a Whiting Award, two NEA grants, and a fellowship at Yaddo. He lives in Bloomington, Illinois.