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David Foster Wallace Books In Order

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Publication Order of David Foster Wallace Standalone Novels

The Broom of the System (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Infinite Jest (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Pale King (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Something to Do with Paying Attention (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of David Foster Wallace Collections

Girl With Curious Hair (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Oblivion (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
String Theory (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The David Foster Wallace Reader (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of David Foster Wallace Non-Fiction Books

Signifying Rappers (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Future of Fiction (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Review of Contemporary Fiction (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
McCain's Promise (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Up, Simba! (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Everything and More (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Consider the Lobster and Other Essays (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
This Is Water (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fate, Time, and Language (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Getting Away from Already Being Pretty Much Away from It All (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Both Flesh and Not (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Quack This Way (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
On Tennis (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
David Foster Wallace: In His Own Words (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Open City #5: Change or Die(1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Ex-Files(2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus(2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories(2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Essays 2005(2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction(2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Essays 2007(2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Conversaciones con David Foster Wallace(2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Boston Noir 2(2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Way More than Luck(2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

David Foster Wallace was a literary fiction author, essayist and satirical author that was best known for his novel “The Broom of the System.” The author was born in Ithaca New York in 1962 and died in 2008. James, his father, was a philosophy major and when he was three years old, his father got employment as a professor at the University of Illinois. Sally, his mother, was an English teacher who encouraged reading and hence Wallace and Amy, his younger sister were brought up in a home with a reading culture. His mother usually brought home the “Encyclopaedia Britannica” that the entire family would read through. As a twelve year old at Amherst, he was a winner of a local poetry contest when he wrote a poem titled “Did you know that rats breed there?” The poem was inspired by the condition of a polluted creek near his school.

In his teenage years at Amherst, David Foster Wallace loved philosophy and mathematics. He loved algorithms and proof completions as they gave him a sort of buzz. He was also a member of the glee and debate clubs and smoked a lot of pot with his friends. During this time, he suffered from depression and started writing fiction as a form of escape. Until then, reading was all about getting information in a pleasurable way. He got his first taste of publishing when the “Amherst Review” published “The Planet Trillaphon,” a short story that was among several stories he had written. It was an autobiographical story that told of the intense bouts of depression and pain he suffered. He also started taking creative writing classes and was soon reading contemporary fiction from the likes of Tom Clancy. He also loved reading postmodern fiction whose love for mirrors and puzzles mirrored hsenthusiasm for philosophy and mathematics.

In 1984, David Foster Wallace began writing the manuscript for his debut novel “The Broom of the System.” The novel was inspired by some remarks made by an old girlfriend that he could not get out of his mind. Wallace penned most of the manuscript while he was still studying at Amherst. He has said that the deadpan dialogue in the novel was inspired by DeLillo while he got his characters’ attitudes of paranoia and names of his characters from Pynchon. The novel would go on to become a success on the bookshelves and was also critically acclaimed. He would then write “Infinite Jest” in 1996 which would become the most successful of his works in terms of sales. Wallace had never managed to get rid of his depression and after numerous attempts he took his own life in 2008. “The Pale King” which he left unfinished was published posthumously in 2011 alongside several other collections of non fiction works.

David Foster Wallace’s “The Broom of the System” is a novel the author wrote at the tender age of twenty four. It marked the emergence of a uniquely talented author and stunned the critics. At the center of this fiercely intelligent and outlandishly funny novel is Lenore Stonecipher Beadsman, the bewitching heroine. The novel is set in the latter decade of the twentieth century in Cleveland Ohio that is slightly different from what it is now. The lead character’s grandmother who was at the Shaker Heights Nursing Home has just gone missing along with twenty five other inmates. Rick Vigorous, her boss and lover, is an insanely jealous man and Vlad the Impaler, her cockatiel, is spouting a mixture of the King James Bible and psycho babble. It is an entertaining and ingenious novel from one of the most brilliant authors in a generation who innovatively explores the paradoxes of reality, storytelling and language. The author comes up with colorful characters that would put the array of fish swimming in a fish tank to shame. Every character comes with a hat that doesn’t quite fit as their brains are either too soupy, too large to too small.

David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest” is a story that is best described as a mind altering tragi-comedy exploring the pursuit of the American dream of being entertained. The novel is set in a tennis academy and a halfway house full of addicts and features a messed up family that somehow manages to make itself endearing. The novel takes a look into essential questions that asks why we let entertainment dominate our lives and what the word entertainment means in the modern world. He asserts that our need to connect with significant people in our lives is often superseded by a strong desire for entertainment. Wallace says that the type of pleasures someone chooses tells a lot about who they are. The novel is equal parts screwball comedy and philosophical quest as the author bends all manner of rules in fiction. Nonetheless, he still manages to provide a lot of entertainment value. It is a uniquely American and an exuberant exploration of the many passions of the human race that shows just what the human mind can come up with. The book says a lot of interesting things about the nature of desire, American culture, Sons and fathers, consciousness, drugs,art, addiction, institutions and the nature of narrative among many other things.

David Foster Wallace’s “The Pale King” is a story set in Peoria Illinois at the IRS Regional Examination Center. The center looks ordinary enough to David Foster Wallace who is a newly arrived trainee. But as he gets into the repetitive and tedious routine of new employees that include boredom-survival training, he learns some interesting things about his colleagues. He arrived at the center when a shadowy group began planning to eliminate the little dignity and humanity left in their work. At the time of Wallace’s death, the novel had been unfinished and hence it is fascinating that it was just as a fearless, compelling, hilarious and satisfying novel just like any other Wallace novel. The novel wrestles with questions on the value of society and work, the meaning of life via characters fashioned using the author’s unique gifts.

Book Series In Order » Authors » David Foster Wallace

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