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David Foster Wallace (1962-2008) wrote what would become his first novel, The Broom of the System, as his senior English thesis at Amherst College. He received an MFA from the University of Arizona in 1987 and briefly pursued graduate work in philosophy at Harvard. His second novel, Infinite Jest, was published in 1996. Wallace taught creative writing at Emerson College, Illinois State University, and Pomona College and published the story collections Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, and Oblivion and the essay collections A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again and Consider the Lobster. He was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and a Whiting Writers' Award and served on the Usage Panel for The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. His last novel, The Pale King, was published posthumously in 2011.
The year is 1990, and the place Cleveland. Lenore Beadsman works as a telephone operator for Frequent and Vigorous Publishers. Her roommate's name is Candy Mandible, their parrot is Vlad the Impaler, there is a Judith Prietht, and businesses have names like Hunt and Peck. Lenore's great-grandmother and several cronies disappear from their nursing home, and the search for them leads across the Great Ohio Desert (G.O.D.). The novel is largely dialogue, much of it quite funny and perceptive. Obviously not aimed at the Danielle Steel or Robert Ludlum crowds, Wallace's book will appeal to people his age (mid-20s) and to older readers who enjoy trying the unfamiliar. Libraries serving such patrons should consider it. Mary K. Prokop, CEL Regional Lib., Savannah, Ga.
Fans of the late, great David Foster Wallace will delight in narrator Robert Petkoff's wonderful audio version of the author's first novel. When Lenore Stonecipher Beadsman, a young switchboard attendant at the publishing firm of Frequent and Vigorous, discovers that her great-grandmother has disappeared, her search leads to the recently constructed Great Ohio Desert. Petkoff's narration is energetic, compelling, and well-paced. He deftly handles Wallace's linguistic gymnastics and entertains with brutally sharp comedic timing. Listeners will particularly appreciate the range of zany and pitch perfect voices Petkoff lends to Wallace's equally kooky cast of characters. Fun, funny, and very highly recommended. A Penguin paperback. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Daring, hilarious... a zany picaresque adventure of contemporary America run amok." --The New York Times"Wonderful... a cathartic experience with lots of laughs and lots of deeper meanings." --The Washington Post Book World