Saturday, September 13, 2008

D.F.W. erases his own map

Got word from Mr. Huevos tonight that David Foster Wallace, the author of the finest book I've ever read is dead by suicide at 46. I was introduced to the Infiite Jest by my roommate in college who, as far as I could tell did not really read any other books. Instead, he kept the jest by his chair and, having previously read it cover to cover, would read it the way some people do the Bible--opening it to any random page and beginning from there. After a year of observing this I finally bought it and three months and eleven hundred pages later was a devotee myself. It is sometimes dismissed as post-modern high brow jibberish but the genius of the jest is the same as any great book: 1. wit and wisdom 2. characters you know and love. To name just a few of the latter: Michael Pemulis, Randy Lenz, Don Gately and Mario Incandenza, who are each in their own way amazing.
I can read the jest or any of his other fine works (consider the lobster in particular is also great)today just as i could yesterday, so in the strictest sense i am not impacted by his death. Hopefully he had something in his lifetime that gave him as much enjoyment as his books give me, and hopefully his death (and the accompanying mini-wave of publicity) will cause his star to burn as bright as his talent deserves.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the worst news I've heard in a long time, and it's a banner time for bad news. That one of the best among us couldn't find a way to make it through troubles me deeply. And I haven't even read "Infinite Jest." But his two collections of essays are some of the best American writing of the past thirty (forty, fifty...) years. Bless his troubled heart and head. I think I'm going to take IJ w/ me to Costa Rica and spend my free time diving into that baby deep in the rain forest.

Cheers, DFW.

Jeff F.

9/16/2008 2:21 PM  
Blogger il Gatto Grande said...

Wallace's famous commencement speech from Kenyon College is available here:

9/17/2008 1:39 PM  
Blogger Huevos McGringo said...

that speech is great. though i think i went through a genuine depressive episode after reading it. seems to drag a bit in the middle, but the conclusion is just stellar.

on the lighter side:

9/18/2008 5:41 PM  

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