David Foster Wallace

The author David Foster Wallace committed suicide earlier this month at the age of 46. He was a famous post-modern writer known, among other things, for mad grammar skills, exhaustively detailed writing, solid comedic stylings, and portraying all the shades of ennui in the emotional rainbow . I, for one, had never read anything by Mr. Wallace until he killed himself.  I don't know what that says about me, or the ephemeral nature of fame but no doubt there's something sad and stupidly ironic about it all.  Maybe I should just read the work of famous writers after they kill themselves from now on, and ignore the work of those not willing to "go the extra mile", i.e hanging, shooting, or poisoning themselves. I am the author of The Suicide Collectors, am I not?

I'm sorry. I'm being flippant. DFW's death has affected me more than I would have guessed, since before I heard about it I'd probably spent 30 seconds thinking about his work.  Now, I've started reading Infinite Jest, all 1,100 pages or so, and am enjoying it, though at times he's a bit wordy and these seemingly random sections pop-up, interrupting the narrative flow, and there's over a hundred pages of footnotes (and I'm not a big footnote fan.  Just put it in the damn book!).  DFW is a funny writer, and I like funny writers.  More in the unfunny category, though, is his suicide.  The post-suicide articles I've read (I think The New York Times has written about seventeen of them so far) talk about how he'd tried every sort of mental health treatment/drug in existance and found all of them lacking until, worn down by his own ferocious mind, he decided to step out and leave the game.  It's hard to forget his suicide as you read his work, which alternates between hilarity, surrealisim, and a whirlwind of pain. (1)

(1) Anyhow. I hope the other side is treating you better than this one did, David. 


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