I had never heard of David Foster Wallace until his unfortunate suicide back in 2008. There were so many great things written about him, that I had made it a mental note to eventually read him. I finally got around to it. My first choice wasn’t one of his novels, but a collection of short stories called “Girl With Curious Hair.”
My initial impression was “uh oh...” and that was due to the fact that the very first story in the book, “Little Expressionless Animals”, features Alex Trebec, Pat Sajak and Burt Convy as characters. “Hipster shit”, I thought, but I’m glad I put my prejudices aside and kept reading. What a truly great story this was and he manages to use the pop culture esthetic in a way that many other writers (and imitators) fail to do. It doesn’t come off with that pseudo-irony that a lot of writers try to attempt. What he have is a very well written story about the nature of show business, the nature of intelligence, and how fleeting and uncaring it can sometimes be.
He manages the same thing in the story, “Lyndon”, a fictional story told from the point of view of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s assistants. Johnson himself is a main character in the story and it is a truly entertaining read.
Some of the other stories didn’t really grab me as much, but over all I thought this was a fine collection of stories and definitely a nice introduction to this truly original writer. I only wish I had read him in his heyday but he left his work behind for the world to read. He is a truly original voice, a writer who clearly has his own style and his own path that he followed. I admire that in any artist, no matter what their medium. He was doing his own thing, seemingly unconcerned with whatever trends existed at the time.
Over all, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of him in the future.