First published: 1996 | Takes place: Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment (likely 2009)
In David Foster Wallace's encyclopedic masterpiece, the United States, Canada, and Mexico have fused into a political body called O.N.A.N., which has transformed all of New England north of Boston into a toxic waste dump. What was once northern Massachusetts is known as the Great Concavity. Giant fans dispel the rancid air, but no Bostonian can escape their constant hum.

The town next to Allston isn't Brighton, it's Enfield — a place where genius kids lob tennis balls and blow pot smoke into the heating vents of the Enfield Tennis Academy, a boarding school on top of a hill on Comm Ave. At the base of that very same hill, a motley crew of addicts attend meetings at the Ennet House Drug and Alcohol Recovery House.

Over at MIT, the student union is housed in a building shaped like a brain. From inside it, a mysterious woman who goes by the name Madame Psychosis (based on Mary Karr, apparently) broadcasts a radio show for depressive loners. Inman Square is known as Little Lisbon. The fresh-killed chicken store is on Prospect, not Cambridge Street, not so far from what appears to be a gadget store but is actually a front for Canadian political operatives who hope to secede from O.N.A.N. and who possess a film so appealing that it has the potential to destroy the entire world.


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  Topics: Books , Science Fiction, David Foster Wallace, Stephen King,  More more >
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