Thursday, November 7, 2013

Book Review: Both Flesh and Not by David Foster Wallace

Both Flesh and Not is a posthumous collection of essays by David Foster Wallace. This collection translates well to audiobook and, well, actually exists on audiobook, which is why I listened to/read it rather than Infinite Jest. This collection spans decades and is uneven, yet Wallace's alchemical style (in which he can take a mundane subject like an editorial introduction to a collection of essays and turn it into clear gold) makes every topic worthwhile, even the long pair of essays about tennis. Wallace's most outstanding feature is not his intelligence or breadth of interest but his underlying compassion that shows through in almost everything he writes. Don't miss the editorial introduction that is reprinted as "Deciderization 2007" -- it is the best of the bunch.

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