Friday, March 30, 2012
Reading Journal: The Broom of the System, by David Foster Wallace (1987)
My first DFW, and what a ride. Wallace's prose is always launching forward, disorienting and racing, but also incredibly dense. It wasn't until the final hundred (of the 460+) pages that I started to tire of it, mainly because one central plot point began to look like it would never be resolved... and it never was. I won't reveal which one, though, because part of the joy of this book is that there are so many irons in the fire: Lenore Beadsman and her father's baby food company legacy; her almost-romance and ensuing therapy sessions with her boss, and publisher of the Frequent & Vigorous Review, Rick Vigorous; her missing grandmother; the construction of the Greater Ohio Desert; a parrot who quotes scripture and Auden and winds up with a televangelism gig; and a "where did all the time go?" storyline that draws college friends back into the plot. That any of this comes together in the end is kind of a miracle. Hard reading, but good reading. Sad to say I probably won't read it again, even though the book seems to demand it.