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THE WEATHER OUSIDE IS FRIGHTFUL

. . .but it could be a lot worse.

Inside, it’s delightful. There are plenty of Christmas leftovers, mostly the dessert variety, and numerous books to read.

My daughter was given a book for Christmas (which I wrestled away from her), called, Quack This Way. It’s an interview of David Foster Wallace by Bryan A. Garner. It’s a fun, but short read. Its fast pace makes it seem even shorter as the two men take a romping, lolloping, constitutional through discussions of writing, language, and usage. The interview was conducted in Los Angeles in 2006, two years before DFW committed suicide.

Who could resist a chapter called, ‘Crummy, turgid, verbose, abstruse, abstract, solecism-ridden prose’, or one simply called, ‘You need to quack this way’.

Our writing group read a short story by Wallace last winter entitled Mr. Squishy. I loved it. I’m loving Quack This Way, and decided to go whole hog (duck?) and downloaded Wallace’s Infinite Jest to put the icing on the holiday-reading cake.

I’ve only just begun this almost 1,000 page tome. It’s a North American dystopian novel taking place in the giant corporation subsidized years of ‘The Depend Adult Undergarment’, and ‘The Trial-Sized Dove Bar’, where our cold (weather outside is frightful) New England States have become Canada’s waste dump.

Yes, it’s a humorous novel, but only as it is written. Underneath it could become melancholic, but I haven’t gotten there yet.

One critic for the New York Times called Infinite Jest a vast encyclopedic compendium of whatever crossed Wallace’s mind’. That may not be so bad. Years later that same critic backpedaled and hailed it for having enriched today’s literary landscape.

Wallace himself said that his heavy use of end notes in Infinite Jest were a method of disrupting the linearity of the text while maintaining some narrative cohesion. There are plenty of them.

Well, I’m off to a lolloping romp through Infinite Jest this Year of the ‘Whisper Quiet Maytag Dishwasher’, or maybe it’s the ‘Year of Glad’. I’m not sure yet, but I imagine that I’ll enjoy the outing.

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