Friday, June 19, 2009

Book Review

Published in 1987 (when I was a mere three years old) was David Foster Wallace's first novel, "The Broom of the System". It's a story about...well, nothing, in fact. Okay, that's not true. It's rich with stories inside the main narrative, absurd character names, paradoxes of life, and the overall underestimated importance of connections. It's a very accessible read, no doubt less time-consuming than his magnum opus, "Infinite Jest". The story is essentially the telling of Lenore Beadsman's life, and how everything around her is just one shit-storm after another. Her job sucks, her boyfriend is incredibly jealous, her grandmother is missing (somewhere out in the Great Ohio Desert, or G.O.D.), and her cockatiel becomes a Christian TV network superstar.

Wallace hits home the ideas understood by the complexities of life, such as how paradoxical they can all be. Here are three of my favorite passages from the book:
"They found out that what they needed to get their feelings of being themselves was from themselves..."

"...the severing of an established connection is exponentially more painful than the rejection of an attempted connection..."

Attachment to things, to places, to other living beings requires in my view expenditures of energy and attention far in excess of the value of the things thus brought into the relation of the attachment."
Regarding the second quotation: one of the secondary reasons why I do not date. Regarding the third quotation: it just goes to show that one never gets what they give; one gets less than that. But the overall value placed on the very thing for which you strive must be equal to the effort you put into obtaining it, no? There is definitely more to the story than I was able to pick up on, but that's okay. I enjoyed it for what it was worth. Although, the ending left me utterly confused. Wallace may have some heavy theological undertones present in the text, but you wouldn't think so until the last page. A good read all-around.

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