By EW Staff
Updated March 14, 2008 at 04:00 AM EDT

Despite the success of last year’s Infinite Jest, some suspected that the bricklike 1,079-page novel was propping open more doors than minds. Happily, the publication of Wallace’s new collection, should change all that. The author forgoes his usual irony in favor of seven surprisingly earnest appreciations of everything from being a kid in the geometrically precise Midwest to postmodern critical theory. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again is a heady, often hilarious tour of American diversions — state fairs and cinema, cruise ships and tennis, six hours of TV a day. Wallace fans will recognize favorite preoccupations, quirks, and, of course, footnotes (137 in the title essay alone); new readers will discover a remarkably talented, fluid, and arresting young voice.