A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace


David Foster Wallace has a lot of baggage these days. His readers are held up to be the worst kind of men: insufferable mansplainers. But even beyond that, there’s his style – long, beautifully constructed but difficult sentences that wend and weave, an author unafraid to be boring, a text littered with footnotes (within footnotes) – which, frankly, you either love or hate.

I’ve tried to, and am still slowly reading (and enjoying) his novel and main masterpiece, Infinite Jest, and have had his essays recommended to me as easier to read.

But the funny thing is – I found the opposite. This collection of essays, whilst each having some good bits, was just a slog. He was writing for hire – and even when he wasn’t, or when he could have the essays at their original (very extended) length, it feels like he’s paying the bills. Even an essay on David Lynch’s Lost Highway, which I loved, felt just.. stale.

So, weirdly. this short collection of essays, can I recommend it? Nope, but I can recommend the 1000 page novel I’ve still yet to finish… which seems a very Wallace-ian response.

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