Sunday, September 14, 2008

David Foster Wallace 1962-2008

I have not read David Foster Wallace but some of you may have. I'm sorry to report he was found dead this weekend, a suspected suicide.

This obit by New York Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani has me interested. (Note: She can get away with the more than 60-word sentence below.)

His work always sounded a little too manic and hipsterish for me. Maybe
it’s time for a second look.

The reader could not help but feel that Mr. Wallace had inhaled the muchness of contemporary America — a place besieged by too much data, too many video images, too many high-decibel sales pitches and disingenuous political ads — and had so many contradictory thoughts about it that he could only expel them in fat, prolix narratives filled with Möbius strip-like digressions, copious footnotes and looping philosophical asides. If this led to self-indulgent books badly in need of editing — “Infinite Jest” clocked in at an unnecessarily long 1,079 pages — it also resulted in some wonderfully powerful writing.

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