Both Flesh and Not is an collection of essays and writing from the virtuosic genius David Foster Wallace
Beloved for his brilliantly discerning eye, his verbal elasticity and his uniquely generous imagination, David Foster Wallace was heralded by critics and fans as the voice of a generation. Collected here are fifteen essays published for the first time in book form, including writing never published before in the UK.
From 'Federer Both Flesh and Not', considered by many to be his non-fiction masterpiece; to 'The (As it Were) Seminal Importance of Terminator 2,' which deftly dissects James Cameron's blockbuster; to 'Fictional Futures and the Conspicuously Young', an examination of television's effect on a new generation of writers, the writing collected here swoops from erudite literary discussion to open-hearted engagement with the most familiar of our twentieth-century cultural references.
A celebration of Wallace's great loves - for language, for precision, for meaning - and a feast of enjoyment for his fans, Both Flesh and Not is a fitting tribute to this writer who was never concerned with anything less important than what it means to be alive.
Praise for David Foster Wallace:
'A visionary, a craftsman, a comedian . . . he's in a different time-space continuum from the rest of us' Zadie Smith
'Wallace's essays brim with cerebral energy, acute observation and fizzing wit. Enviably good' Sunday Times
'Wallace's exuberance and intellectual impishness are a delight . . . a superb comedian of culture' Guardian, James Wood
David Foster Wallace wrote the novels Infinite Jest and The Broom of the System, and the short-story collections Oblivion, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and Girl with Curious Hair. His non-fiction includes Consider the Lobster, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, Everything and More, This is Water and Both Flesh and Not.He died in 2008.
This book - a collection of essays, reviews, monographs and notes, interspersed with words and their meaning as culled from his notebooks - starts off with what is often known as his best piece of non-fiction, "Both Federer And Not", about tennis professional Roger Federer as he plays Wimbledon. To be honest, non-fiction is a wonky term here, as DFW often twisted the truth his way.
In that essay, he wrote miraculously. Sadly, I'm not much into mathematics, so that piece went away. Also, the same thing for "The U.S. Open", which is like the Federer piece but a lot less interesting. I'm not a tennis fan.
I am, however, into film, so reading his piece on "Terminator 2" is insightful and fun. As is "Twenty-four Word Notes", about words and their meaning. His bit about a few note-worthy prose books - "Overlooked: Five Direly Underappreciated U.S. Novels >1960" - makes me want to go seek them out.
All in all, there are a few really great bits and bobs in here. DFW's use of language is always truly wonderful and he is really good at writing non-fiction, but I much prefer his prose to this, completely speaking....Continua