David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace, one of my favorite writers and someone on whom I’ve been waiting for another big book for years now, killed himself over the weekend. He had been severely depressed for a long time, and in fact wrote quite a bit about mitigating the pain of life with the use of legal and illegal pharmaceuticals. His writing is, to an extent, an acquired taste, full of long sentences, digressions that whip back to the main narrative, self-conscious wordplay, hilarity and pathos in equal measure, and out-and-out crazy ideas. If you don’t have the time or interest to try his magnum opus, Infinite Jest (1996), try his hilarious account of a cruise-ship voyage, “Shipping Out: On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise,” from Harpers in 1996. (Harpers released all of their DFW pieces today as a memorial to him.)

3 thoughts on “David Foster Wallace”

  1. Wow… hadn’t heard this. I have a signed first edition of “Infinite Jest” from a Hungry Mind book signing in 1996. Maybe ShOI and Shari were there…

    He was a ferociously gifted writer. One of the truly creative people, and I mean ‘creative’ in the sense of being an original – an initiator – not one of those cutesy, finding-your-muse, self-help-guide, do-what-you-want, ironically-fitting-the-cookie-cutter creatives that pollute the artscape of America.

  2. Make sure you follow McSweeney. They are posting memories.

    Also, you got an iPod Touch? I’m so darn jealous. I’ve been holding out for the Google/T-Mobile thing coming out later this month, but the early reviews are sort of “eh”.

  3. Another friend just sent me the McSweeneys link; I dutifully sent it my memories of him. What a loss.

    The Touch is really nice, but more than that it’s going to be hellaciously handy around campus. Super easy to use, too…

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