I am happy to report that in spite for previous failures I have finally made my way through a complete David Foster Wallace piece, namely Shipping Out (pdf) also known as the title essay in his collection A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. This treatise on luxury cruises is spot-on and engrossing, and difficult to describe. I read something that said that Wallace’s gift is for honesty and conversation without irony. He just sort of talks to you, the reader, mixing high prose and pedestrian language interchangeably, with footnotes and asides, meandering discussions, and the occasional bit of straightforward insight. In Infinite Jest it drove me batty, but in Shipping Out it worked for me. And it was odd, reading this essay, a narration of DFW’s week at sea, feeling like I was getting inside his head, and then remembering how he is dead. So odd.