Today's footnote: Wallace is hard to review, because the books are complicated, and because their self-consciousness tends to swallow attempts to conceive them. (There was a Don Martin cartoon that scared me as a child, in which for four panels a spider weaves a web between two branches, until in the final panel the camera pulls back and the branches are revealed to be the sticklike legs of a giant fly, licking his chops; Wallace's fiction is to criticism as the fly is to the spider.)

Wyatt Mason, writing about Oblivion in the LRB in 2004, maybe doesn't trap the fly, but at least he's weaving his web in the right place: he successfully articulates the difficulty of the late stories, and some of the functions and effects of that difficulty. (Helen Dewitt, whose The Last Samurai is recommended to DFW fans, doesn't find Oblivion difficult. Good for you, Helen!)