In assessing this book, comparisons with Don DeLillo, Tom Robbins, and Robert Coover seem accurate, for Wallace is playful, idiomatically sharp, and intellectually engage. Overwhelming in his long, torrential sentences and his wit, he at times subjects us to overwritten, almost showy, passages, but his talent is undeniable. Included in this collection is a novella that examines, among other things, post-modernism. His (generally overlong) stories explore popular culture through the lives of a variety of characters: a lesbian with a three-year winning streak on Jeopardy, an actress anxious about appearing on David Letterman, a wealthy Republican yuppie who has a disturbing connection with some punk rockers; and Lyndon Johnson in a closeup that shows how well a historical figure can be used in fiction. Impressive in scope and savvy.
- Peter Bricklebank, City Coll., CUNY