The Broom of the System

posted by Jason Kottke   May 03, 2006

Following a long tradition on this site, I’m going to make a prediction based on very little evidence: David Foster Wallace will never write another novel. My feeling after reading The Broom of the System is that it’s basically a rough draft of the novelized “version” of his “life” that eventually became the lovingly polished Infinite Jest. (That’s right, two is a trend!) Or if he does, it’ll be 20 years from now, when enough time has passed for him to reflect on his experiences in long-format fiction as a writer, husband, teacher, famous personage, and (if he ever has kids) father.

As for Broom itself, I haven’t read enough philosophy for a proper review. The best I can do is compare it to Infinite Jest. If you want to read IJ but just can’t handle its 1000+ pages and 300+ footnotes, read Broom first. If you hate it, no big deal…it’s only 480 pages. But if you like it, you can safely devour IJ.