Don't want to dwell on this too much or personalise the review, only...
Regardless of what you think of his other work, or the types of books you like, you are a human living in the present who needs to READ THIS.
Actually I just checked and there are reviews giving this less than 5 stars so apparently I do!
I won't reveal too much about the individual stories because I don't want to take away the surprise, but:
- Amongst other devices, post-modern or otherwise, metafiction and the dreaded poioumena are used properly and to fantastic effect: yes, they are. I've never seen it done before. Never understood it, but peeling back the layers of the storytelling to reveal the process of writing works amazingly with some of these stories in that it for example shows the inability to craft a powerful story in modern times without sounding like you're falling into cliche, and even reflecting our own angst in doing this when we talk to each other (I definitely do this and I'm worried you think that what I just wrote is pretentious. Such is the unavoidable nature of contributing anything! And one of the best messages here is that double-guessing and attempted likeability can be fatal to anything worth saying. So I'm leaving it.)
- Bar 2 or 3, each of these stories feels like a punch in the face, and whether or not you agree with DFW's analysis (and it is often open anyway) you owe it to yourself to ask... yourself the questions that they pose, even if you end up concurring with your own philosophy heretofore.
- These stories are what the short story is for. Asking yourself 'What is a short story?' feels redundant but the question no less rhetorical, and I think this collection is a great example of what short stories do. [b:Infinite bloody Jest|6759|Infinite Jest|David Foster Wallace|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1165604485s/6759.jpg|3271542], say, cannot achieve what these stories can- not that it is better or worse, it is only not a short story, agreed?
So as an homage to what I think this book stands for, at risk of sounding gushy or pretentious, trite or pleading for attention, these are my bare bones honest thoughts. I would strongly advise that you read this book.