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One of the benefits of this book is it allowed me to read some of my favorite David Foster Wallace essays (on Tennis) and introduced me to several I had somehow missed. This small collection (138 pages) contains the following essays:
1. Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley - aka "Tennis, Trigonometry, Tornados: A Midwestern Boyhood" in Harpers (December 1991)
2.How Tracy Austin Broke my Heart - Originally Published in Consider the Lobster and Other Essays
3. Tennis Player Michael Joyce's Professional Artistry as a Paradigm of Certain Stuff About Choice, Freedom, Limitation, Joy, Grotesquerie, and Human Completeness - AKA "The String Theory" in Esquire (Sep 17, 2008)
4. Democracy and Commerce at the U.S. Open - Tennis Magazine (September 1996)
5. Federer Both Flesh and Nott - AKA "Roger Federer as Religious Experience" in New York Times, (August 20, 1996)
Anyway, I still love DFW. And loved rereading most of them and am still amazed at DFW's ability to infuse his writing with passion, maths, and somehow translate the kinetic beauty of Tennis specifically, but sports also into the written word. I hate to overplay it, but sometimes I feel the same way with DFW talking about Tennis as I felt when I read Tolstoy talking about God or Melville or Conrad about the Sea. His writing at moments when he is talking about trigonometry, athletic achievement, and velocity, becomes both flesh and light. One of my favorite lines, I think it may have been from the second essay about Tracy Austin, he talks about Michael Jordan "hanging in midair like a Chagall bride". Perfect.
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David Wallace was a master of his trade. I will venture that practically anyone will enjoy this book of five essays. I've read through it multiple times now and it's always entertaining. If you like tennis you will surely find this book to be a favorite. If you ever picked up "Infinite Jest" and weren't enthralled (as some of his fans are) don't worry, this is well written nonfiction essays, and it's a very engaging read.
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