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Home News by Category New Fiction New DFW fiction in The New Yorker: Good People

New DFW fiction in The New Yorker: Good People

The New Yorker online has a new work of short fiction by David Foster Wallace available. Click on the link to read Good People. {comment}
I've now read it...
... and I'm sitting here trying to phrase some sort of response. It's a fine piece of writing.
Not an enjoyable one.

Last Updated on Sunday, 18 February 2007 17:09  


#1 portocac 2007-02-06 20:41
Ehh. . . I know what you mean. I kept waiting for that moment that distinguishes a DFW piece from anything else out there and just kind of half got it. I kind of reminded me of No more mr nice guy, only not as fun
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#2 mootpoint 2007-02-07 08:08
I thought the uprooted tree visual worked nicely... This felt very delicate. A fraction of a moment in time, all bow-tied up by Wallace via his misleadingly simple layout...
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#3 zenith 2007-02-11 03:35
Did anyone else feel like this was a part of a longer thing?

This is the first DFW story I've felt both emotionally and intellectually engaged in (as opposed to just the later) in a long time.
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#4 Brian C 2007-02-14 00:29
The names are interesting. Lane A. Dean, Jr. = lad, with a junior thrown in to emphasize the immaturity. Sheri Fisher, Fisher scrambled is Sheri F.

Never to mention pregnant, pregnancy, abortion, or child was impressive too, as was the unfolding of the conflict, internal and external.
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#5 Steven Augustine 2007-02-15 01:08
Maybe not being fresh is now a form of being fresh for DFW? What else would explain this expanded iteration of Hemingway's over-anthologized 'Hills Like White Elephants' story (the twist being that what was nearly good about the Hemingway was that almost everything removeable had been vacuumed---sorry---out of it...and here DFW just glops it all back in again)? Or maybe the submission/acceptance guidelines at the NYer have shifted catastrophicall y even further towards the banal, clichéd and folksy overnight. Or maybe DFW has been kidnapped by Radical Muslim Structuralists and this is a coded cry for help. Or maybe he met a stupendous girl named Nadine at a n+1 party (Lane A. Dean---say it fast a few times) and this was his way of talking himself out of the infatuation. Or, I dunno. Head injury?
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#6 sheth 2007-02-21 23:19
This one surely spoke to and inspired my Christian spirit. As a nurse aid working in a hospital, it sure is refreshing to see my god's pro-life nature every now and then.
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#7 Brian C 2007-02-27 04:52
Quoting Brian C:
Never to mention pregnant, pregnancy, abortion, or child was impressive too,

Oops! Child was mentioned, once near the end.

Rereading the story increases my appreciation for its strength.

I wonder if it's part of something longer, like zenith said.
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#8 Steven Augustine 2007-03-02 16:00
But is this really a 'fine' piece of writing? It feels like a second draft...if the blurriness of the writing is deliberate, it's over-done. This sentence is a good example of what I mean (it's not cherry-picked...there are plenty to choose from):

"The only other individual nearby was a dozen spaced tables away, by himself, standing upright."


"The only other individual was a dozen tables away."

Is anything necessary lost by tightening that sentence? Wordiness can be a rhythmic device or a tone-setter and so forth, sure, but isn't this merely DFW being kinda sloppy? Or, again, over-indulging in the demotic?
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#9 sheth 2007-10-30 12:59
I was just reading E Unibus Pluram again and it hit me that DFW's making use of a sort of constructive (reverse?)irony in the tension between what is said and the imagery conjured up. Man oh man is this a powerful story. I'm about ready to get all evangelical and have a shirt made that says "Lake of fire survivor" or something corny but truish like that.
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