Just a brief post tonight to signal my noticing of this new David Foster Wallace thinger in the Readings section of the new Harper's. It's labeled a "scene" and also "from a work in progress," and reads kind of like a truncated long short story.
I like it. This is sort of meaningless, as I basically like all of Wallace, even the things I don't like. He is one of those artists--like the Coen Brothers or The Flaming Lips--whom I appreciate on a very deep, more or less permanent level, and I forgive him for all the sucking he needs to do in order to produce something really good.
This does not suck, but it could be filed in the same drawer as the Junot Diaz and Jhumpa Lahiri stories I was complaining about a couple weeks ago--it is doing its thing in overly familiar territory. But there's something about Wallace's territory--the arena of scary, squirrely little mental tics and unhealthy but irrepressible impulses--that seems bottomlessly valuable to me. This piece is a monologue, on the part of a (very echt-Wallace) awkward and pedantic office worker, about his relationship with, and fear of, a colleague's baby. And at the end--which we can safely presume is not really the end--the baby starts talking to him like an adult. It's rather creepy--the talking baby may represent new territory for Wallace. We'll see.
What's your take on Wallace? There have been times I thought maybe I was tired of his schtick, and then whammo, he once again writes something amazing. I don't know if this is it. It certainly has something going on, though.