Can't wait for my copy to arrive.
Alan Yuhas reviews Quack This Way for the Guardian, A lifelong apprenticeship: David Foster Wallace and Bryan A Garner on writing:The bulk of this slim volume (only 123 pages including the introduction) is the interview’s transcript, which reads like two old, very smart friends chatting about their favorite topic: how to write well. To adapt a relevant Guardian review, this introductory guide to writing "more than justifies the entry price". You couldn’t ask for two better tutors.
Wallace and Garner hash out the "lifelong apprenticeship" of language, from big bromides, like "the reader cannot read your mind", to the gritty details of good openers, transitions, and a vocabulary of "elegant variation". Their delight in taking apart solecisms is infectious – the passages about advertising and “officialese” are both hilarious and fascinating. It’s not as stunning as Wallace's essay – never mind as comprehensive as Garner's dictionary – but it’s still brilliant fun.
The friends' love for language is irrepressible. Garner's most staid questions turn into happy, roundabout digressions. He asks, for instance: "Of what utility is a usage book to some writer – of fiction or nonfiction?" In turn, Wallace talks about his students, a hard drive metaphor, and why a usage book "is one of the great bathroom books of all time".
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