The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home News by Category General Updates Tori Schacht on The Broom of the System

Tori Schacht on The Broom of the System

Today over at The Rumpus Tori Schacht: The Last Book I Loved, The Broom of the System:

David Foster Wallace was a writer with whom I was determined, out of principle, not to fall in love.
The hype! The fandom! All that geeking out! The angsty 18-year old girls with severe haircuts and ironic t-shirts toting around Infinite Jest like the goddamned Rosetta Stone! The whole thing smacked of hipsterism and zeitgeist in a way that I wanted to distance myself from. No, sir! No 1,000-plus page schizoid novel for this reader; I’ll take Proust for $800, Alex. Besides, he couldn’t be worth his salt—this multiple-named longhaired dude whom I occasionally mixed up with Jonathan Franzen.
But after my boyfriend finished Infinite Jest, rapturous and feverishly babbling about acronyms, I took a stab at it and fell hard—fell flat on my face in the way that feels like heaven when you’re crazy in love and running through a pine forest at dusk somewhere in New England. It was probably the only novel I’ve ever read that got me out of my depth in terrifying ways, but all the same left me laughing for full hours at a time— the only novel that altered my entire perception of what comic writing can do. To this day, I can’t say I’ve downright missed, longed for a novel the way I yearn for Infinite Jest.
This is exactly why I was so fearful of picking up the earlier-published The Broom of the System; it’s the only other novel Wallace wrote (forthcoming Pale King aside). While I was hungry to be in his thrall once more, in some ways, the journey would end here.



The Howling Fantods