"Oblivion" by David Foster Wallace

Scott M. Morris reviewed "Oblivion" for the L.A. Times on June 13, 2004. Here are some excerpts: David Foster Wallace has earned a place as one of America's most daring and talented young writers. His use of language is pyrotechnic, and he is impatient with traditional narrative forms. In his new collection, "Oblivion," he is up to his customary tricks, but he has also plumbed a little deeper in matters of the heart. Those who are familiar with Wallace's inventive wordplay will not be disappointed. In "Another Pioneer," a passenger on an airplane relates a conversation he overheard about a Third World village that has produced a gifted child able to answer any question put to him. In Wallace's hands, the story itself is questioned: "[A]t certain points it became unclear what was part of the cycle's narrative Ding an sich and what were the passenger's own editorial interpolations and commentary...." Which, not incidentally, is a good way of describing Wallace's writing.... Of course, these being Wallace stories, such plot summaries are to some degree beside the point. There are stories within these stories, along with Wallace's trademark footnotes, parenthetical comments and bracketed observations. His eye for cultural detail is ever sharp, his humor ever dry.
Michael Morgenstern / For The Times
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