Consider the Lobster and Other Essays by David Foster Wallace is an eclectic collection of essays that were previously published in a wide-variety of publications. This volume’s essays have been seen everywhere from Rolling Stone to even Gourmet magazine. Consider the Lobster was also put at fifth place on Emily Temple’s “25 Greatest Essay Collections of All Time List” on Flavorwire.com. Additionally, the work has enjoyed mostly positive critical acclaim from readers and critics alike. Consider the Lobster is a work that examines different themes and issues, showing Foster Wallace’s range from writer to philosopher.
In the work, there are ten separate essays. The first is “Big Red Son,” which is about Foster Wallace’s visit to the AVN Awards for porn.
The next essay “Certainly the End of Something or Other, One Would Sort of Have to Think” is a review of Toward the End of Time by John Updike. This novel is about the world after China and the US have successfully dropped nuclear bombs on each other.
The third essay is “Some Remarks on Kafka’s Funniness from Which Probably Not Enough Has Been Removed.” This essay is taken from a speech that Foster Wallace gave in 1998 at a symposium to celebrate a new translation of Kafka’s The Castle.
The next essay is called “Authority and American Usage,” which discuses power and class in modern American communications via Bryan A. Garner’s A Dictionary of Modern American Usage.
The fifth essay is “The View from Mrs. Thompson’s” and is an account of the 9/11 attacks from the perspective of Foster Wallace’s hometown Bloomington, Illinois.
The sixth essay “How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart” is about Foster Wallace’s abhorrence of the ghostwriting industry built around professional athletes.
“Up Simba” is an essay about John McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign from his bus “The Straight Talk Express.”
The essay from which the book is titled “Consider the Lobster” concerns the ethics of boiling a lobster alive for the pleasure of the diner and was originally intended as a piece about the 2003 Maine Lobster Festival.
The ninth essay “Joseph Frank’s Dostoevsky” discusses the Stanford professor’s book about the late Russian writer.
And the last essay “Host” examines the effect of clear channel media domination on how Americans think, talk, and vote by looking at the show of conservative radio host John Ziegler.
While all of the essays seem disjointed from each other, Foster Wallace seamlessly weaves together a flawless work that yields new perspectives.