Wallace’s voice is, to use Orlean’s phrase, tonally adventurous throughout, a contagious bewilderment from Wallace in unceasing conversation with readers of Gourmet, never quite letting them forget that they’re part and parcel to his own thinking about the various “questions of whether and how different kinds of animals feel pain”: As far as I can tell, my own main way of dealing with this conflict has been to avoid thinking about the whole unpleasant thing.I should add that it appears to me unlikely that many readers of gourmet wish to think hard about it, either, or to be queried about the morality of their eating habits in the pages of a culinary monthly.
“What were you thinking when you published that lobster story?
” writes in one distressed reader, continuing, “Do you think I read your magazine so you can make me feel uncomfortable about the food I eat?
Please find writers who enjoy their job, their travels, other travels, and food!
” O’Farrell’s opinion notwithstanding, “Consider the Lobster” was included in Robert Atwan’s 2005 “Best American Essays” series, guest-edited by Susan Orlean.
Whether covering the three-ring circus of a vicious presidential race, plunging into the wars between dictionary writers, or confronting the World’s Largest Lobster Cooker at the annual Maine Lobster Festival, Wallace projects a quality of thought that is uniquely his and a voice as powerful and distinct as any in American letters. “Big Red Son” is a first-person account of the Adult Video News awards held in Vegas in 1998.
David Foster Wallace answers these questions and more in essays that are also enthralling narrative adventures. DFW brings out the depth of these random and unrelated subjects through the written word in these bunch of brilliant essays that are equal parts humorous and profound. And what happens when adult video starlets meet their fans in person?It’s worth reading because of the eloquence with which DFW covers the industry that is anything but.It is to impose yourself on places that in all noneconomic ways would be better, realer, without you.It is, in lines and gridlock and transaction after transaction, to confront a dimension of yourself that is as inescapable as it is painful: As a tourist, you become economically significant but existentially loathsome, an insect on a dead thing.“Consider the Lobster,” Probably my favourite, it’s the detailed account of the main Lobster festival which proudly boasts of containing the biggest lobster boiling pot in the world.But then, why do we boil the lobster alive before putting it on our plates, and what’s with this delicacy.No wonder they cannot appreciate the really central Kafka joke — that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle. Thompson’s,” The grotesque attack of 9/11, as seen from the American Midewest, where DFW lived at that time. Thomson’s television, he describes the day, the scene, the sadness and the empathy.“How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart,” A great essay about the bad autobiography of a remarkably good tennis player.On a Wednesday morning in late July 2003, David Foster Wallace made his way to the “the enormous, pungent, and extremely well-marketed Maine Lobster Festival” held every year in the state’s midcoast region.Wallace, “your assigned correspondent…accompanied by one girlfriend and both his own parents,” had been sent there by Gourmet, “the Magazine of Good Living,” whose of a readership no doubt anticipated a freewheeling, lighthearted tour of the festival’s gustatory pleasures of August in Maine, perhaps accompanied by a recipe or two.