Cover image for Oblivion : stories
Title:
Oblivion : stories
Author:
Wallace, David Foster.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Little, Brown and Company, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
329 pages ; [25] cm
Language:
English
Contents:
Mister Squishy -- The soul is not a smithy -- Incarnations of burned children -- Another pioneer -- Good old neon -- Philosophy and the mirror of nature -- Oblivion -- The suffering channel.
ISBN:
9780316919814

9780316010764
Format :
Book

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Central Library1Received on 6/6/18
Orchard Park Library1Received on 6/6/18

Summary

Summary

In the stories that make up Oblivion , David Foster Wallace joins the rawest, most naked humanity with the infinite involutions of self-consciousness--a combination that is dazzlingly, uniquely his.
These are worlds undreamt of by any other mind. Only David Foster Wallace could convey a father's desperate loneliness by way of his son's daydreaming through a teacher's homicidal breakdown ("The Soul Is Not a Smithy"). Or could explore the deepest and most hilarious aspects of creativity by delineating the office politics surrounding a magazine profile of an artist who produces miniature sculptures in an anatomically inconceivable way ("The Suffering Channel"). Or capture the ache of love's breakdown in the painfully polite apologies of a man who believes his wife is hallucinating the sound of his snoring ("Oblivion").
Each of these stories is a complete world, as fully imagined as most entire novels, at once preposterously surreal and painfully immediate.


Author Notes

Writer David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York on February 21, 1962. He received a B.A. from Amherst College in Massachusetts. He was working on his master's degree in creative writing at the University of Arizona when he published his debut novel The Broom of the System (1987).

Wallace published his second novel Infinite Jest (1996) which introduced a cast of characters that included recovering alcoholics, foreign statesmen, residents of a halfway house, and high-school tennis stars. He spent four years researching and writing this novel. His first collection of short stories was Girl with Curious Hair (1989). He also published a nonfiction work titled Signifying Rappers: Rap and Race in the Urban Present. He committed suicide on September 12, 2008 at the age of 46 after suffering with bouts of depression for 20 years.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

An all-male focus group convenes in a Chicago office building to sample a new form of junk food under the omnivorous eyes of a psychotic statistician, while on the street a crowd gathers to watch a possibly armed man scale the glass tower. A journalist investigates an Indiana man who makes art out of his miraculous poo. A couple goes to a sleep clinic to resolve a snoring conflict. So it goes in Wallace's first short-story collection in five years, a high-wire performance by the star of kinetically cerebral fiction. As questing a philosopher (his last book, Everything and More BKL O 15 03, is a history of infinity) as he is a canny storyteller, the author of Infinite Jest (1996) fashions complex tales rife with shrewd metaphysical inquiries, eviscerating social critiques, and twisted humor. Profoundly intrigued with the paradoxes of being, the haphazard forging of the self, and the relentless cascade of consciousness, he has one of his obsessed narrators bemoan language's inability to convey the psyche's wildness, yet Wallace's torrential prose comes awfully close. --Donna Seaman Copyright 2004 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

In his best work, Infinite Jest, Wallace leavened his smartest-boy-in-class style, perfected in his essays and short stories, with a stereoscopic reproduction of other voices. Wallace's trademark, however, is an officious specificity, typical of the Grade A student overreaching: shifting levels of microscopic detail and self-reflection. This collection of eight stories highlights both the power and the weakness of these idiosyncrasies. The best story in the book, "Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature," assembles a typical Wallaceian absurdity: a paroled, autodidactic arachnophile accompanies his mother, the victim of plastic surgery malpractice ("the cosmetic surgeon botched it and did something to the musculature of her face which caused her to look insanely frightened at all times"), on a bus ride to a lawyer's office. "The Suffering Channel" moves from the grotesque to the gross-out, as a journalist for Style (a celebrity magazine) pursues a story about a man whose excrement comes out as sculpture. The title story, about a man and wife driven to visit a sleep clinic, is narrated by the husband, who soon reveals himself to be the tedious idiot his father-in-law takes him for. While this collection may please Wallace's most rabid fans, others will be disappointed that a writer of so much talent seems content, this time around, to retreat into a set of his most overused stylistic quirks. Agent, Bonnie Nadell. 5-city author tour. (June 8) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Lots of weird stories from the irrepressible author of Infinite Jest, featuring such characters as a parolee who carefully guards his spider collection. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Mister Squishyp. 3
The Soul Is Not a Smithyp. 67
Incarnations of Burned Childrenp. 114
Another Pioneerp. 117
Good Old Neonp. 141
Philosophy and the Mirror of Naturep. 182
Oblivionp. 190
The Suffering Channelp. 238