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Amadan na Briona

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Inherent Vice
Thomas Pynchon, Ron McLarty
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Five
Ellen Datlow, Laird Barron, Conrad Williams, Ramsey Campbell
Locus Solus (Alma Classics)
Raymond Roussel
Blackout (Newsflesh Trilogy, #3)
Mira Grant, Paula Christensen, Michael Goldstrom

The Broom of the System

The Broom of the System - David Foster Wallace, Robert Petkoff I am not sure how to describe this... thing I read. David Foster Wallace was supposed to be some sort of sublime genius. I thought The Broom of the System was trying way too hard to be sublime and ingenuous, and while there were plenty of clever bits, it was clever bits and characters tossed around in a mostly unfunny satire of... something.

There really isn't a plot per se. Lenore Stonecipher Beadsman is looking for her great-grandmother, who up and disappeared from her nursing home along with all the other residents. She also has a boyfriend/boss named Rick Vigorous, who is a quivering mass of neuroses and insecurity. The other main subplot of sorts involves her cockatiel, Vlad the Impaler, who goes from amusingly reciting Lenore's roommate's rehearsals of her break-up speech with her boyfriend, complete with intimate details of their sex life, to starring on a televangelist Christian broadcast. (So when the bird says "Make me come!" -- yes, it goes there.) There is all sorts of other strangeness, like the "Great Ohio Desert" (explained in the prologue with a farcical speech from the Governor of Ohio).

Chapters kind of careen between updating us on the whacky misadventures of Lenore and Rick and "Wang-Dang Lang," a dick-swinging good ol' boy who first made his appearance terrorizing Lenore and her friends in a drunken frat prank and reappears years later, and random outtakes, ranging from Vlad the Impaler's appearance on Christian TV to Lenore's answering the phone at "Frequent and Vigorous" publishing to her creepy to the point of scary sessions with her therapist. Also, many small meta-fictional insertions by Rick Vigorous, some of which appear to be approaching a point and others which are just freaking bizarre.

Maybe I don't get this whole post-modernist thing. Maybe David Foster Wallace is too sophisticated and clever for me. Or maybe I didn't much like A Confederacy of Dunces either.