The David Foster Wallace Reader

  • by David Foster Wallace
  • Narrated by Robert Petkoff, David Foster Wallace, Sally Foster Wallace, Sean Pratt, Kristine Hvam, Ben Shenkman, Bobby Cannavale
  • 48 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Where do you begin with a writer as original and brilliant as David Foster Wallace? Here - with a carefully considered selection of his extraordinary body of work, chosen by a range of great writers, critics, and those who worked with him most closely. This volume presents his most dazzling, funniest, and most heartbreaking work - essays like his famous cruise-ship piece, "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again," excerpts from his novels The Broom of the System, Infinite Jest, and The Pale King, and legendary stories like "The Depressed Person".
Wallace's explorations of morality, self-consciousness, addiction, sports, love, and the many other subjects that occupied him are represented here in both fiction and nonfiction. Collected for the first time are Wallace's first published story, "The View from Planet Trillaphon as Seen In Relation to the Bad Thing" and a selection of his work as a writing instructor, including reading lists, grammar guides, and general guidelines for his students.
A dozen writers and critics, including Hari Kunzru, Anne Fadiman, and Nam Le, add afterwords to favorite pieces, expanding our appreciation of the unique pleasures of Wallace's writing. The result is an astonishing volume that shows the breadth and range of "one of America's most daring and talented writers" (Los Angeles Times Book Review) whose work was full of humor, insight, and beauty.

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What the Critics Say

"Wallace is an astonishing storyteller whose fiction reminds us why we learned how to read in the first place." (Andrew Ervin, San Francisco Chronicle)
"One of the most influential writers of his generation." (Timothy Williams, The New York Times)
"A prose magician, Mr. Wallace was capable of writing... about subjects from tennis to politics to lobsters, from the horrors of drug withdrawal to the small terrors of life aboard a luxury cruise ship, with humor and fervor and verve." (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Like listening to Mozart...or Led Zepplin

David Foster Wallace is a as good a writer as I've ever read, maybe the best. This collection of pieces of his work, some fiction, some not, could work as a sampler for someone who has never read or heard his work. Most of the narrators are good...but Robert Petkoff narrates Mr Wallace's work with a style and tone, that, to these old ears, is like listening to the best music I ever heard. Although I tend to like Mr. Wallace's fiction better than his essays, ("Infinite Jest" is the best novel I have ever read/heard) listening to 40 plus hours of The DFW Reader, seemed like being on one of those carnival rides that you wish would last for hours and is over in seconds. And, you want to right back and do it, again.
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- neil

Giant book full of great DFW things.

What did you love best about The David Foster Wallace Reader?

It's nearly a compendium on DFW. Many things I read, I was otherwise unaware of.


Which scene was your favorite?

I loved some of the stories I'd never read from books I don't have. Loved revisiting some great scenes from Infinite Jest, and hearing favorite old essays and new.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. This book is so big, that I actually needed the help of the physical book as well, to finish up.


Any additional comments?

The loving and exhaustive manner employed by the editor, his staff, family, and everyone involved in this huge project lends an additional layer of love to some of the works included in this great collection. In some cases, the editors notes say more about David than the pieces themselves, which naturally stand on their own. This is a work of love and care, as well as a great (and vast) pasture for anyone inclined to browse in the writings of David Foster Wallace.

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- Todd

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-11-2014
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio