Something to Do with Paying Attention

(Author) (Preface by)
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Product Details
$18.00  $16.74
McNally Editions
Publish Date
4.88 X 8.43 X 0.47 inches | 0.55 pounds
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About the Author
David Foster Wallace (1962-2008) was the author of two finished novels, The Broom of the System (1987) and Infinite Jest (1996), six collections of stories and essays, two book-length essays in mathematics and philosophy, and one unfinished novel, The Pale King, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
"In the introduction, the bookseller and editor Sarah McNally calls these pages 'not just a complete story, but the best concrete example we have of Wallace's late style, where calm and poise replace the pyrotechnics of Infinite Jest and other early works.' McNally is right to underscore the story's relatively serene narration, which stands out even more now that it can be encountered independently from the larger book . . . And Fogle's monologue offers, as McNally indicates, Wallace's most sustained effort to adopt the plainspoken frankness that he admired in the 'morally passionate, passionately moral' fiction of his Russian heroes, especially Dostoyevsky."--Jon Baskin "New Yorker"
"Delicious . . . An unmistakably Wallace-esque tale of inanity and profundity."--Hillary Kelly "Vulture"
"What [is] distinct in Wallace's work is an attention to the secret, battered, deflated spiritual existence of America and Americans. Underneath the professional smiles there is a sadness in this country that is sunk so deep in the culture you can taste it in your morning Cheerios . . . Wallace identified it: many, many people followed him."--Zadie Smith "The Burned Children of America"
"Complete in itself . . . [Something to Do with Paying Attention] has to be the most unusual conversion experi- ence in confessional narrative."

--Judith Shulevitz "Slate"
"Wallace was both satirist and preacher in the same breath, and the idea that the IRS, imagined as a quasi-religious foundation in which the burdensome and egotistic self might find redemption in the service of a greater good, could be both a comic conceit and a heartfelt belief seems to have been central to his conception of The Pale King."--Jonathan Raban "New York Review of Books"
"It's easy and seems obvious to say that Wallace the novelist was an ethicist, deeply concerned with fidelity to the truth. He didn't flinch from plumbing the scariest, strangest, most difficult things right to the bottom: scenes of psy- chic torture, or right-to-life Christians facing an unwanted pregnancy, of suicide or murder, addiction or philosophy, the mathematics of Georg Cantor or the ethics of eating meat. In fact, though, his fiction is full of whoppers. I mean plain lies, as in, you can't kill someone with ground glass (as in The Pale King) any more than you can use Lemon Pledge as sunscreen (as in Infinite Jest) . . . Why do this to us? It's to make us do the 'hard work, ' as he used to call it, of reading well. Through these cascades of weird little fibs, reality itself is over and over called into question. All of it. Experience, reading, writing. Being."--Maria Bustillos "Popula"
"First among us. The most talented, most daring, most energetic and original, the funniest . . . He was a wake-up artist."--George Saunders
"Enthralling . . . Something to Do with Paying Attention has the spirit of [Wallace's] best non-fiction, that of the set-apart morning, with a ray shining on the page. It both demonstrates his greatest gift and represents the desire to have this part of him set alone from the rest . . . You open [the] text and it wakes. What is alive in it passes to the living. His attention becomes our attention.--Patricia Lockwood "London Review of Books"