Bookmark is featuring “Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature,” a sample story from David Foster Wallace’s Oblivion, a new collection of short stories set to storm bookstores next month.


Then just as I was being released in late 1996 Mother won a small product liability settlement and used the money to promptly go get cosmetic surgery on the crow’s feet around her eyes. However the cosmetic surgeon botched it and did something to the musculature of her face which caused her to look insanely frightened at all times. No doubt you know the way an individual’s face can look in the split second before they start to scream. That was now Mother. It turns out that it only takes a minuscule slip of the knife one way or the other in this procedure and now you look like someone in the shower scene of Hitchcock. So then she went and had more cosmetic surgery to try and correct it. But the second surgeon also botched it and the appearance of fright became even worse. Especially around the mouth this time. She asked for my candid reaction and I felt our relation demanded nothing less. Her crow’s feet indeed were things of the past but now her face was a chronic mask of insane terror. Now she looked more like Elsa Lanchester when Elsa Lanchester first lays eyes on her prospective mate in the 1935 classic of the studio system Bride of Frankenstein.
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