Oblivion is a difficult book, and will be frustrating to some readers. Many fiction writers take a narrative arc, then pepper it with details at intermittent points along its length to engender a sense of self-containment and completion. Wallace excises a small segment of a narrative arc, and then packs it with a dense accretion of detail (with strategic omissions that befuddle and inclusions that seem, at first, meaningless to the narrative). Traditional fiction seeks to create an illusion of contiguity in the haphazard events of our lives; Wallace undermines the illusion of sequential narrative by filling a time-span with facts that often refuse to cohere as neatly as we're conditioned to expect.
"Mister Squishy" also demonstrates Wallace's proclivity for appropriating highly specialized, modern linguistic systems to ground his stories in the Now. Told from the point of view of a narrator whose omniscience becomes more discomfiting as the story inexorably unfolds, "Mister Squishy" contains several intertwined threads that would require one hell of a deus ex machina to untangle: a focus group ostensibly market testing a new snack cake that's actually a cover for a series of double-blind coups that ramify to the top of the advertising agency and beyond; the existential crisis of the focus group's facilitator, Terry Schmidt; and a man scaling the exterior of the building performing ominous operations with various high-tech equipment.
Another distinct quality of Wallace's writing is its peculiar take on linearity. Where most fiction's sentences proceed one to the next in a direction that seems to be across or outward, Wallace's lines spiral inward, a series of involutions where each thought connects not to one beside it, but to one within it, like a diminishing Russian doll. I'd love to cite a brief example, but there aren't any. Wallace writes in massive sentences that can run to pages, slaloming through colloquialisms and real-speech syntax that reflects not so much how we talk as how we literally think, as if someone is describing their thought process to you aloud as precisely as possible. Filled with bracketed asides and parenthetical digressions that mirror the fragmentary nature of thought (this was also the impetus behind the hundreds of footnotes in Infinite Jest), they remain prodigiously sculpted and punctuated.