Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Broom of the System...

So, I finally got around to reading Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace. It sat on my shelf for a good while until I finally gave in and dove into it. The book is post modern in every sense of the movement. We're talking about three page long sentences and random changes of verb tenses here. The whole thing adds up to one hell of a read that does somewhat disappoint.

The beauty of the novel is the insight the reader gets into all aspects of each character. However, I still am unsure about how much of what I got out of each character was intended by the author. I really don't know whatI can actually say about the book. The book definitely has problems, but it was DFW's first novel. Again though, Wallace changes viewpoints so many times that I am left wondering whether or not the short stories by a particular character were meant to...suck for lack of a better term. I know I missed a good bit from the book because I read the bulk of the book in less than oppurtune conditions, which includes late at night as well as during my 9 hours at the airport. Much of the book stays vague, and there is really little plot to stick together. But here's the crazy part: I liked it.

Sure, it was random and weird, but it was also funny as hell without being too over the top. Sure, the end of the book was strange beyond belief, and the actions in the book were even stranger. Still, all of those elements seemed to be a product of mindsets that we actually see in real life. What DFW does is take fairly ordinary instabilities of mind and take them to an extreme. Not on character in the book can be marked as normal in any sense of the word. Also, who can resist a universe so derenged that Ohio creates G.O.D. (Great Ohio Desert) because life is too easy for the people, and yes we are talking about the state government developing a desert. The main company rivalry in the book is between two manufacturers of baby food, what a horribly vicious line of work.

I'm definitely going to be grabbing Infinite Jest, which seems to be the book Walace is most famous for. From what I understand Broom is more accessible, but Jest is an overall better book. So, now I'm off to actually work on finishing the 4+ books I am part way through.


Blogger Brooks said...

Reading Infinite Jest is highly recommended. Get yourself two bookmarks - you'll need one for the endnotes and one to hold your place while you read the endnotes.

7/19/2005 4:14 PM  
Blogger TheRedNewt said...

Yeah, that was one of the reasons I decided to check out some of his earlier work first. I didn't want to get started on something like that before I knew if it was my style.

7/19/2005 8:21 PM  

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