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Oblivion: Stories by David Foster Wallace

Oblivion: Stories (original 2004; edition 2005)

by David Foster Wallace

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1,959324,968 (3.89)44
Title:Oblivion: Stories
Authors:David Foster Wallace
Info:Back Bay Books (2005), Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library

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Oblivion by David Foster Wallace (2004)

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I was interested in this mostly because of the hype on the movie. This is intense writing on every level. You have to have 3 brains to get it all seemlessly, and then I'm not sure that would be good enough. I read about 75% of it. I regret that I had to stop, when I feel like this is a writer who gets more meaningful with every story. But, as my daughter says, "He was making my brain explode." ( )
  MsKathleen | Jan 29, 2018 |
I have mixed feelings regarding this book.

On the one hand, it's extremely painstaking to read. Look up from reading once and when you come back you are utterly lost in a sentence, since they wind on and on and go off track and are the reason you require either an admirable capacity for concentration or a rapid reading speed. Along with that think of streams of corporate jargon and, somehow, inexplicably (except for Good Old Neon), anti-climactic endings (which I suppose makes sense; it fits Wallace).

On the other hand, Wallace is a genius. No one writes like him. No one manages to capture so accurately what consciousness is like, a whirling mess of unconnected thoughts and ideas, images and emotions, on the surface a somewhat logical whole but in reality nothing like a whole at all.

“What goes on inside is just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of at most one tiny little part of it at any given instant.”

Wallace attempts to explain why writing is essentially just a stab at what really goes on inside one's head, in writing. He is aware of the irony, succeeds in capturing the essential vapidity of corporate politics, the frustrations of daily life, and a great deal of what it means to be a human, not in all its make-believe glory, but in day to day boredom and irritation.
  bartt95 | Jan 15, 2017 |
DFW was a genius. This is a stunning collection. Read it! ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
A remarkable set of stories. As with Tenth of December, almost all of them can be recalled at will. My two favourites were The Soul Is Not A Smithy, with its bizarre duelling narratives, and Oblivion, with pulls the reader in, toys with them and then jerks them with a superb ending. That said, you really can make a case for any of these being the best. ( )
  alexrichman | Sep 8, 2016 |
"Mr. Squishy"
The complexity of "Mr. Squishy" has been compared to a Magic Eye poster. Reading and rereading will yield varying results. Getting up close will show you something different than if you backed away or circled it, growling like a battle-ready rabid dog. As readers, we step into the scene as it is already underway, a focus group talking about an initially unnamed product. Then we discover we are focused on a chocolate dessert food product under the brand name of Mr. Squishy. The company is trying to market a chocolate dessert with the name "Felonies!" At the same time, unrelated to the scene on the inside is an individual climbing the outside glass wall. The duality of scenes implies an inside looking out/outside looking in desire.

"The Suffering Channel"

Brint Molke is an artist. His medium is not oils or watercolor. He specializes in his own excrement. Not to say he is a sculpture in sh!t. He just happens to defecate art. This astonishing feat caught the attention of Skip Atwater, writer for Style magazine. The title of Wallace's short story comes from Skip's coverage of a cable channel called...wait for it...the suffering channel. A 24/7/365 channel where, you guessed it, one can watch images of all kinds of suffering. There is more to the story than this, but the overlaying detail that shrouds everything is Style magazine is located in one of the World Trade Center Towers and it's September 10th, 2001. In other words, nothing in the story matters because in a day's time everything will change. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Jun 7, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316010766, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:26 -0400)

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Presents a collection of eight short fiction stories by American author David Foster Wallace.

(summary from another edition)

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