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Sep 14, 2008 06:21 AM

Author of Consider the Lobster (and so much more) dead at 46

I owe MC Slim JB real gratitude for uncovering this news almost as soon as it was published on Gawker, I think.

Those of you who remember the shitstorm this essay caused when it came out in Gourmet may have (or may not have) become fans of his novels, short stories, and essays then. He was a brilliant, brilliant writer, easily among the best of the past few decades IMO. Heartbreaking.

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  1. Was 'Consider the Lobster' pro-lobster?

    What a shame. I wonder why he did it.

    1. Thanks, tatamagouche, for introducing me to this brilliant writer. I started with "Consider the Lobster", which you can read here: Broadly speaking, it's an examination of how humans relate to other animals, spun out of reporting on the annual Maine Lobster Festival, focusing specifically on the issue of the morality of killing animals cruelly (e.g., boiling them alive) for our pleasure. Thought-provoking, and one small example of this man's astonishing talent. I'd encourage anyone to read the rest of his work, though little else of it focuses on chow-related issues.

      2 Replies
      1. re: MC Slim JB

        >>focusing specifically on the issue of the morality of killing animals cruelly (e.g., boiling them alive) for our pleasure

        Yes, I figured Wallace was a decent human being. What a shame, what a loss.

        Also a shame is that I hadn't heard of him before now.

        I wonder why he did it.

        1. re: dolores

          He was a genius who danced with pathos. Until he could no longer.

      2. Really sad. "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" is one of the best essays ever (about a week-long trip on a Celebrity Cruise ship) and Infinite Jest is a modern classic.

        1. Good speed, Mr. Wallace.

          A talented man with a wonderfully unique view of the world that we inhabit - his "Consider the Lobster" is truly a thoughtful, thought-provoking read.

          I'll miss his fiction, but moreso his essays - everything of his that I've read has opened my eyes and provided much fodder for pondering.

          I'm sorry that he chose to leave this world, but wish him the best in the next great adventure. May he find peace and enlightenment in whatever follows.

          1. Was the lobster essay originally featured in Gourmet? It sounds really familiar....

            8 Replies
            1. re: rozz01

              Yes, it was, and the letters to the editor following its publication were incendiary.

                1. re: maria lorraine

                  MC Slim JB's link above is to the article as it appeared; & here's a link to a forum that Reichl herself, it appears, comments on w/r/t deciding to run the piece. I don't see that the letters themselves are online; for that you'd probably have to check the archives at your local lib.


                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      He was absolutely my favorite living novelist, to whom even Delillo took a backseat once I discovered him. (Granted, Delillo's own foray into writing about food in the form of the postmodern supermarket in White Noise is also unforgettable.)
                      So I'm honored to share whatever I can find.

                      Grinder's covered it now too.

                        1. re: maria lorraine

                          Thank you! In my own lifetime, I don't remember a writer's death causing such an outcry. It's comforting, somehow.

                          1. re: tatamagouche

                            It is a huge bombshell in the literary community.