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A Literary Gift

March 22, 2012

Is this copyright infringement? I don’t know. But what I’m about to share with you is an amazingly rendered and extremely short short story by David Foster Wallace. (Sorry. Hope those adverbs don’t make you think you’re about to read a title by Jonathan Safran Foer.) Begin quote—

A Radically Condensed History of Postindustrial Life

     When they were introduced, he made a witticism, hoping to be liked. She laughed extremely hard, hoping to be liked. Then each drove home alone, staring straight ahead, with the very same twist to their faces.

     The man who’d introduced them didn’t much like either of them, though he acted as if he did, anxious as he was to preserve good relations at all times. One never knew, after all, now did one now did one now did one.


—End quote.

I am nowhere near being ready to read Wallace’s Infinite Jest (I have a disdain for footnotes), but I do think the above work of fiction is brilliant.


–From Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Little, Brown: New York, 1999.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen @ Motherese March 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm

I think I’ve told you before how my husband and I read a “big book” together every summer. He’s been advocating for Infinite Jest. Maybe I’ll suggest we start our forays into DFW with this short-short story.


Jana March 27, 2012 at 8:38 am

I keep thinking about reading Infinite Jest, too. But it’s so darn long. And the footnotes drive me crazy. I don’t know if I’m up for it yet, but I do think I’ll read it on an e-reader when the time comes.


Christine @ Coffees & Commutes March 26, 2012 at 8:15 am

The fact that I had to reread it several time to grasp it speaks volumes as my star of mind these days. Kudos to you if you decide to tackle it. I simply don’t have the stamina these days. :-)


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri March 26, 2012 at 5:16 pm

I’ve tried to tackle it a few times. Maybe I will try again.
His very short essay, “This Is Water” is something I reread every few months.


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