Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Broom of the System - David Foster Wallace

I have had an audio book version of The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace for an embarrassingly long time without writing a review. It sounded like a tale I would enjoy.

From the publisher The Hachette Book Group:

"The "dazzling, exhilarating" (San Francisco Chronicle) debut novel from the bestselling author of Infinite Jest, available for the first time as an audio book.

At the center of The Broom of the System is the bewitching (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."

The reader was Robert Petkoff, whom I've listened to before. He has a sardonic quality to his voice that seems perfect for the tone of the book.It does take a bit to get used to his breakneck speed. But it perfectly matched the pacing of the writing, so it was good fit. But the book just wasn't a good fit for me.  I have stopped and started quite a few times now and it just doesn't capture me or hold my interest at all. And I feel like it should, as Wallace is such a 'decorated' author. But I've come to the conclusion I can't finish it (or get past disc 3). And I feel bad, but when it really isn't enjoyable, it just defeats the purpose.

Listen to an excerpt of The Broom of the System. Wallace is on Facebook as well.

So instead, I am linking to listeners who did love it/finished it - check out what they thought. And please send me your link if you've reviewed it - I'll add it to the post.

Steph and Tony Investigate
K & K's


Dorte H said...

What a pity you didn´t enjoy it more. The name Lenore Stonecipher is rather intriguing, I think.

Steph said...

While I did finish this one, it was definitely intense reading and certainly a struggle at time. I'm not sure how well it would translate to audio since it can be quite zany at times and I would imagine keeping the various plotlines straight would be exhausting. I fully admit I had to reread large swaths of text, which is made much more difficult with an audiobook. In sum: don't feel bad this didn't change your world! I'm glad I read it, but it wasn't a breeze by any means!

Teddy Rose said...

I finally wrote my review. I actually listened to the entire book. Here's my review:

Jeanne said...

My review is posting tomorrow (1/11/11). I rather enjoyed listening to this one on audio, although in the end the characters are so irritating I could barely stand to finish!