The "dazzling, exhilarating" (San Francisco Chronicle) debut novel from the best-selling author of Infinite Jest, available for the first time as an audiobook.
At the center of The Broom of the System is the betwitching (and also bewildered) heroine, Lenore Stonecipher Beadsman. The year is 1990 and the place is a slightly altered Cleveland, Ohio, which sits on the edge of a suburban wasteland-the Great Ohio Desert. Lenore works as a switchboard attendant at a publishing firm, and in addition to her mind-numbing job, she has a few other problems. Her great-grandmother, a one-time student of Wittgenstein, has disappeared with twenty-five other inmates of the Shaker Heights Nursing Home. Her beau (and boss), editor-in-chief Rick Vigorous, is insanely jealous. And her cockatiel, Vlad the Impaler, has suddenly started spouting a mixture of psychobabble, Auden, and the King James Bible, which may propel him to stardom on a Christian fundamentalist television program.
Fiercely intelligent and entertaining, this debut novel from one of the most innovative writers of our generation explores the paradoxes of language, storytelling, and reality.
©2004 David Foster Wallace (P)2010 Hachette
"Daring, hilarious... a zany picaresque adventure of contemporary America run amok." (The New York Times)
"Wonderful... a cathartic experience with lots of laughs and lots of deeper meanings." (The Washington Post Book World)
This is one of the few audiobooks that had me laughing out loud again and again, yet if I had to explain the story as a narrative and the ultimate meaning of it, I would feel like I was wrong in some way. The relentlessly articulate language is refreshing and enjoyable much of the time but it took some time for me to figure out the essence of the story. The characters are in some ways extremely sad but often hilarious, and again, relentlessly articulate. The book seems saturated with social commentary, some of which is hilarious and some of which is somewhat biting and perhaps melancholy. The setting seems to be a parallel present day in an Ohio of an alternate universe. I highly reccomend this.
I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^
I sure wasted a lot of time in college is all I can say. All in all, not a bad PoMo novel from a undergraduate senior thesis. Some ideas didn't seem to be finished, or put away, but that also seems to be a familiar theme in DFW's work. Not my favorite DFW, but I'd still prefer most days to read mediocre DFW to good/great anyone else.
This is a really funny book, and there were some really beautiful moments in it, and really, really good characters. I liked it, for the most part, but I really did become invested in Lenore and the whole plot of the book, and I felt really disappointed with such an unclear ending.
David Foster Wallace seems like a wonderful and talented writer, especially for a dude of his age when he wrote this book, but I wish, for a book that has such a wonderful plot and compelling characters, there was just a little less philosophizing and intentional ambiguity and just a little more plot development / resolution.
The narrator, though, does a wonderful job. His reading really brings out the magic of David Foster Wallace's text. When you're just reading the language alone on the page, it's easy to miss how overtly funny lines are like, "'...' said Candy Mandible."
Robert Petkoff really brings all the characters to life really well. Over the last week while I've been reading / listening to the book, I've been quoting different things over and over to myself like, "Jesus shall not want," or, "Special-wecial food," and saying character names like, "...said Peter Abbot," and besides the extremely well named characters, I feel like it's the narration that really makes the book come alive and brings out all the best parts of it.
This is especially true with lines that get repeated throughout the book. I'm not nearly as visually oriented as I am auditory, so when things come up like Dr. Jay saying, "Batter," and "Batter," over and over and over while he's wearing the gas mask, or while Lenore is reading to her regular Grandmother, and she keeps saying, "Roughage," again and again, the narration lets me get so much more into the rhythm of the story and made it very much more enjoyable.
I guess I'm a baby...I just love to be read to.
David Foster Wallace...what a strange dude he was. If you like books that jump around from character to character and year to year then you will really like this. I generally like that format but for me there was a little too much, 'wait what's going on?' with each jump. The narrator is very good though.
No. There are much better DFW choices.
I'm a huge DFW fan but this one I just didn't get at all.
Speak, Memory. I became a Vladimir Nabokov fan after Lolita.
Vlad the Impaler (a.k.a Ugolino the Magnificent)
The most humorous part of this, I thought, was a group of very Pynchonesque monologs where one of the characters who co-owns a book publishing business goes into great details describing the unbelievable and over-the-top story submissions he receives from disturbed young writers.
It sure wouldn't be Norman Bombardini!
This gets off to a real bad start by introducing a bunch of narcissistic college kids in 1981, who get high and try to analyze everything from rape to Cat Stevens. Luckily, this is the worst part of the novel and it is just an interduction to characters the story fallows nine years later in 1990 (three years in the future of the book publication) The Broom of the System is an enjoyable comedy and should not be compared to DFW's followup magnum opus Infinite Jest published a whole decade later, because it's not anywhere as massive in content... nor size for that matter. The Broom of the System is a comedy that, I'm guessing, is an influenced blend between 'Crying of Lot 49' and 'A Confederacy of Dunces' with a little bit of Kafka thrown in there. There are some great comedic characters.
I'm not sure. A lot of my friends aren't readers and you're not a reader this book won't make any sense to you. DFW was so far ahead of his time and he was so much smarter than most people it can make his books SEEM hard to follow. However, with some careful reading his books, including this one, are perfectly understandable and follow a clear path. The path may not be straight by any stretch of the imagination but it is there.
DWF's insights on the human condition are simply breath taking. is ability to craft character of such depth and complexity is simply unmatched. His talent for names is astounding. One can only imagine what other stories and characters we would have now if he was still around. His loss was a loss to the entire world. He was one of the greatest writers of his generation without a doubt and probably one of the greatest writers of all time. He will be forever missed.
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