Consider The Lobster

Consider The Lobster

by David Foster Wallace

Audiobook(CD - Unabridged)

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Do lobsters feel pain? Did Franz Kafka have a funny bone? What is John Updike’s deal, anyway? And what happens when adult video starlets meet their fans in person? David Foster Wallace answers these questions and more in essays that are also enthralling narrative adventures. 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781478991021
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Publication date: 09/12/2017
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 5.70(h) x (d)

About the Author

David Foster Wallace (1962–2008) is the New York Times bestselling author of Infinite Jest, The Broom of the System, and Girl With Curious Hair. His essays and stories have appeared in Harper’s, the New Yorker, Playboy, Paris Review, Conjunctions, Premiere, Tennis, The Missouri Review, and the Review of Contemporary Fiction. Wallace has received numerous awards, including the Whiting Award, the Lannan Award for Fiction, the QPB Joe Savago New Voices Award, and the O. Henry Award.

Date of Birth:

February 21, 1962

Date of Death:

September 12, 2008

Place of Birth:

Ithaca, NY

Place of Death:

Claremont, CA


B.A. in English & Philosophy, Amherst College, 1985;MFA, University of Arizona, 1987

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Consider the Lobster 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with David Foster Wallace's writing. In fact it is superb. I've given the nook book version of his essay collection only one star because it is missing probably one his most interesting pieces, "Host." Perhaps the reason is because the form is so strange and it couldn't be adapted to a nook book format. However, I don't buy this excuse. The hard copy is cheaper (online) and complete, so buy that one instead.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
David Foster Wallace has looked into the heart of American. I think he saw all we are/were and had trouble coming to grips with it. A man for all seasons. His writing reminds me of the character Homer Simpson in that we all have a trait that is a fault, so you can either take a step back and laugh at yourself, or you reject the truth of it. Those who reject the truth often can not look at themselves with a truly enlighten and open mind. The truth is out faults are what make us most human and in that respect most endearing.
WithKnivesOut More than 1 year ago
David Foster Wallace is the best writer you haven't read. This book of essays allows the reader to get a great idea of how he writes. He's witty, amusing, well-researched, and talented. I cannot speak for his short stories or other fiction, but his essays were very fun to read.

Note, his favorite essay technique is the footnote, so be prepared. Every essay is an exercise for the eye as much as the brain.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Though this reviewer rarely reads essay collections, this form of literature is both my favorite and my most detested format (corollary to the 50 page rule of why keep reading if it so bad, for essays a 20 page rule). When satirically amusing and filled with irony on ¿postmodern¿ life, nothing beats an essay such as classics like the ¿postmodern¿ ¿How to Cook Roast Pig¿ or ¿A Modest Proposal¿. David Foster Wallace provides ten delightful articles on a variety of topics ranging from the relativity of pornography to generalizing the insipidness of sports autobiographies extracting from Tracy Austin¿s perfect tennis adventure (Bill and Ted for a set anyone). In Mr. Wallace¿s delightful way, if one wants to know whether a lobster feels pain while undergoing scalding water treatment, don¿t ask the cook, the lobsterman, or the zoologist go to the source (not sauce): ask the lobster who obviously is not dancing their life away. Same goes to McCain's presidential bid lost during a failed debate with a fundamentalist demanding the senator turn no cheek insisting Christ condemned homosexuality. Though the asides can be difficult to follow with abbrev, they are fun to follow up on with their deeper explanations and Americanization of the English language through ibid. Readers will appreciate the deep look at ¿postmodern¿ American life as a fabulous INFINITE JEST. --- Harriet Klausner
mana_tominaga on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dyamic engaging collection of essays on various topics ranging from the annual adult porn industry awards to Kafka's humor to lobsters.
EnriqueFreeque on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In lieu of standard review (supposedly a "review" I know I'll never write again), **[¿Dude, it's just lobsters man, relax.]**interspersed within whatever the hell this is (homage? tribute? unconscionable crap?) I¿m presently composing now**[¿Why do you care so deeply about lobsters? Don¿t you think you maybe, just maybe, you might care a wee bit too much about bottom-dwellers?¿]**are snippets from an imaginary one-sided conversation. a brief and hideous interview, I had with the late DFW recently;**[¿Mr. Wallace, if you'll pardon my transgression as I regress to alluding to earlier famous essay of yours, can¿t you suck down some margaritas and just enjoy the damn cruise?]**said fantasy monologue acting, I believe, as curious catharsis, channeling my loss -- strangely personal,**[¿You tell us lobsters¿er basically gigantic insects, that folks on the coast of Maine call `em `bugs,¿ so what are you...I don't see you lugubriating about the unethical treatment of escargot!"]**though simultaneously distant and, I guess, vicarious?, if that¿s the right word, which I don't think it is (I mean, I obviously didn¿t know DFW**[¿I¿ll admit I¿ve never really considered the lobster like you have, Mr. Wallace, and if I¿ve ever considered lobsters before buying your book (besides acknowledging that they taste mmm-mmm good, dip `em in butter, mmm), I¿ve considered them disgustingly overgrown, underseawater cockroaches.¿]**even though his writing spoke to me and untold others about everything and more, as in Moses-and-the-Burning-Bush-Speak, as if he were indeed (not necessarily Yahweh or Allah or Buddha) but my/our dearest most understanding friend) -- into, what?, **[¿Remove their pincers, paint `em black ¿ voila! -- you got yerself a `roided up sea salted cockroach -- yuck"]**something ¿productive?¿; nah, what the hell does that mean?-- that¿s the sort of disingenuous drivel DFW loathed; or, **[¿I¿m just jesting about the lobsters, Mr. Wallace, I admire your enriching, truly educational and edifying, disturbing even, ultra-linguistic meta-analysis of ethics/morality-Maine-Lobster-Festivalish"]**channeling to maybe expunge the nebulous, hard to mentally grasp and accurately articulate, grief over DFWs death, (why it¿s so painful to me when I didn¿t literally know him beyond his books/interviews) out of my head, onto the page, **[¿Forgive my sentimentality, Dave ¿ and what¿s so necessarily automatically wrong with being somewhat sentimental at times anyway?!¿]** so that my heart can maybe intervene and somehow translate these emotions in-transit through the oblivion between my brain and the page in order to ¿in order to what?...make sense of it?...**[¿But I¿m already remembering you fondly, perhaps even sentimentally ¿ despite your assumed omnipresent protestations of hyper-literary-vigilance against said syrupy nostalgia -- and despite what you did.¿]**make sense of the bewildering incomprehensibility of what you did, of that which will never be explained, only hinted at in essays and fictions, because the only person who could possibly explain it to us, is now dead?**[Nevermind, Mr Wallace, I'm obviously confused from so much considering, searching for answers to infinite questions only you'd think to ask.]**
elsyd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I probably would have been more open to David Foster Wallace had the book been rearranged. I was offended by the first essay, Big Red Sun.This author is quite amazing. Smart, talented and leaned! I probably wouldn't pick up something by him again, or reccomend this book to a friend, but it was definately informative.
jnyrose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fascinating collection of essays that range in subject from the porn industry to lobsters to political campaigns but never lose their basic faith in humanity or sense of humor and occasional puzzlement about what humanity gets up to. Each essay is carefully set out to provoke a well-thought out response in its readers. And, often, make them laugh as they think about changing some aspect of their lives or the world.
Periodista on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For those who have never read Wallace's nonfiction before, this isn't the essay collection to start with. A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again has more winners that I read over and over, with the piece on taking a cruise an absolute gem. That book also has accounts of the Illinois State Fair and a top-level tennis tournament. This volume has a visit to the Maine lobster vessel but it doesn't reach the peaks (well, digressions and ruminations) that the earlier volume did. Instead he pretty much settles on mulling over where lobsters feel pain (they seem to) and thus whether we should be eating or cooking then. He would have made a good popular science writer. The funny piece on a porn movie awards show in Las Vegas is really more Wallace's element. Yes, it's as tacky and ridiculous as you might expect, but he also gets the perspective of the addled waiters as the awards dinner, just like he did with Tibor (the Tibster) in the cruise story.The piece of Updike the misogynist makes you wonder why Wallace wasn't given more chances to take on these grand old men. Wouldn't he have been good on Roth and Bellow? Also spot on is the review, from Harper's, of a new Oxford book on American usage. He really zeroes in on the author/editor's premises, whether he's liberal or conservative, yadda yadda. Maybe this only interests copy editors and their fans, but it was a lot more interesting that the review in A Supposedly Fun Thing of some text on deconstructionism or something. Then there was a strange visit to some obscure right-wing talk show host in Southern Calfornia; why would anyone outside the region and time give a damn. Maybe the John McCain profile would have seemed more interesting if I hadn't read Michael Lewis's very similar treatment in a book covering the Dole election (whenever that was). The two writers have the same problem: they know very little about *policy* and have little interest in learning more. They both like and admire McCain and, without thinking very much, assume that;s all readers and voters want or need to know. Lewis went through the whole campaign, so he's the worst offender; he never tried to grasp the platforms of any of the candidates in that race. Well, regardless, we all know all this color stuff about McCain many times over by now; Wallace's piece doesn't age well.
joshberg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This thoroughly brilliant book of essays probably deserves 5 stars; my only quibble is that as a collection it asks a lot of the reader. DFW's metafictional take is effective and charming, with footnotes and annotations that are at least as entertaining as the more traditional text they complement. But since this is a series of essays, the PoMo approach can start to feel like too much of a good thing. Still, the subjects are varied and wonderful--among other adventures, the author spends time at the Adult Video Awards, on John McCain's 2000 Straight Talk Express bus, and visiting a late-night radio shock-jock--and the observations surprising, illuminating and witty.
nohablo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The perfect marriage of head and heart. Loopily earnest and self-reflexive with a terrifying capacity to understand and understand: not just brain-straining theories, but - more impressively - people. Feels and writes the world with all nerve endings exposed, at once rawly disappointed at the overall state of meanness and pettiness and inhumanity, but still, somehow, achingly hopeful. Never simple, never reductive, always great.
basilisksam on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For once the hype is deserved. Have to admit I'd never come across him before his death and the first thing I read was a piece in "The Guardian" which impressed me so much I went out and found Lobster. It's especially impressive how he searches out everything there is to know about lobsters and whether they can feel pain without ever preaching for or against eating them. His description of the porn industry and the porn awards show succeeded in making me feel revulsion towards it in a way that any number of feminist authors have failed to do in the past. That's quite some feat.
PatriciaUttaro on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I like Wallace's voice, but I ahve to say I was a little turned off by the lengthy first section about the porn industry. It could easily have been half as long and still packed a punch.
mrtall on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
More incandescent prose from one of my favorite essayists. DFW is in fine form throughout, with particularly good pieces on the 'seamy underbelly' of lexicography, John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign, a porn convention, a talk radio host, the works of Dostoyevsky, and the eponymous crustaceans. I can never make up my mind: Wallace is famous for his copious use of footnotes and other digressions; is he self-indulgent (i.e. he can't bear to leave out even a single pearl of his wisdom) or is he instead a hyper-considerate, even nervous, writer who's obsessed with avoiding confusion or leaving himself open to misinterpretation? Either way, his style works for me, so I'd highly recommend this volume.
pynchon82 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wallace is often at his best in essay form and his newest collection is no exception. There's some great stuff here: including "Big Red Son," an amusing behind-the-scenes look at the Adult Video Awards; "Authority and American Usage," which starts as a review of a new dictionary and gradually devolves into not only a comparison between prescriptivist and descriptivist thinking, but an indictment of his own teaching style; "The View from Mrs. Thompson's," in which DFW watches the second plane crash into The World Trade Center from the safety of his neighbor's kitchen; and the title essay, where DFW gets too tied up in the realization that The Maine Lobster Festival amounts to not much more than asking a million people to stand around and watch as one million lobsters are boiled alive to actually write about whether the festival is fun or not.The book has it's problems, obviously. There's a Dostoevsky piece that left me bored and cold. And the footnotes, which don't tend to bother me usually, are quite annoying in "Host" (instead of being at the foot of the page, they're included in little boxes that break up the text--pretty to look at, but difficult to read). But there is something to enjoy or learn in almost all of this collection's entries.For me, though, no matter how good or bad the rest of the book is, the book itself gets four stars solely for the inclusion of "Up, Simba." This essay, originally an e-book, concerning eight day's on the campaign trail with Senator John McCain back in 2000, is one of the most thought-provoking and beautiful pieces of writing that DFW has ever produced.
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