A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments

A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments



The Pequod Review:

David Foster Wallace’s fiction can be a frustrating experience, but his best non-fiction essays are enchanting. A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again is a collection of seven essays, at least four of which are absolute masterpieces of the genre:

-- "Tennis Player Michael Joyce's Professional Artistry as a Paradigm of Certain Stuff about Choice, Freedom, Discipline, Joy, Grotesquerie, and Human Completeness," a profile of the American tennis player Michael Joyce and mid-level professional tennis more generally. 

-- "Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley," an autobiographical profile of Wallace's experiences as a teenager playing competitive tennis and developing an interest in mathematics.

-- “E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction,” a cultural essay about the impact of television on U.S. fiction, and specifically how a certain form of cynical irony has led modern fiction to a dead-end nihilism. 

-- "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again," Wallace's very funny account of his week-long Caribbean cruise.

I could quote extensively from all of them, but really if you have not read these essays I highly recommend following the links above. They are supremely inventive, literate and engaging works of narrative non-fiction. And in the case of the title essay ("A Supposedly Fun Thing"), the complete version published in the book is even better than the edited version on the Harper's site above, all the more reason to get the book.