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From the Mixed-Up Future of Lenore Beadsman
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Washington, D.C.
Author: Rucker, Rudy
Date: Jan 11, 1987
Start Page: x.01
Section: BOOK WORLD

The book's main character is Lenore Beadsman. In the first chapter we see her as a teenager in 1981, witnessing an Animal House-style courting scene between two Amherst boys and her Mt. Holyoke sister's roomies. The rest of the book is set in 1990. [Lenore] is embroiled in a relationship with an older man named Rick Vigorous, who has a really really tiny penis and who has unbelievably foul dreams. "Kind of hard to take a man seriously who wants a spanking for Christmas," as Lenore's friend Candy Mandible says about Rick. He wears a beret to cover his bald spot. Rick represents, I would hazard, the aspect of [David Foster Wallace]'s personality that got him to start this book. We often hear Rick talking, and we get to read or hear, verbatim, a number of stories that Rick has made up. They're good stories, in a sick way, but by the end of the book we're as tired of Rick Vigorous as Lenore is: "I think new heights of spasmodic weirdness are being reached."

Early in the book, Lenore's great-grandmother disappears from her rest home. As Lenore searches for her, she bounces into and off of most of the people who have mattered in her life. The book's first Animal House scene takes on deeper and deeper resonances. At the climax, Lenore seems to attain what she's been blindly struggling towards for some nine years: self-determination and adult love. Lenore and her eventual true love might be thought of as representing the aspect of Wallace's personality that got him to finish this book, or rather, the aspect of Wallace's personality which finishing this book has helped him express.

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