As with any biography, Wallace is not its subject but its object. Instead, this book seems oddly truncated. I think I'm very honest and candid, but I'm also proud of how honest and candid I am--so where does that put me. All that said, the book does give a good account of Wallace's intellectual development and ideas on what fiction ought to do and how one should live her life. Non sapevo che Foster fosse il cognome della madre, che amava, ma con la quale aveva un rapporto conflittuale ed emotivamente violento, al punto che per lunghi periodi della sua vita decise di non avere contatti con lei, nonostante fosse il suo punto di riferimento per tutto quello che riguardava la conoscenza della lingua Inglese. It took me about a month and half to get through it this time, but I actually finished it. Another thing, perhaps more powerful, that detains people at the niceness question has to do, I think, with competitiveness.
You might expect a Wallace biography to open with a set of questions, with some description of how it intends to investigate Wallace's life and what it hopes to get out of that investigation. Nothing great here, but it was interesting to learn things I did not know. Above all this is the story of a touching young man who insisted on being something better than simply the smartest person in the room. Body ¶4: The structure of this biography is frustrating. How substitutes for reality eventually supplant reality to degrees and depths from which we cannot return. If that surprises you you are a moron. As many know, he was hospitalized several times for breakdowns and overdoses, and struggled with pervasive suicidal ideation.
No further exposition is given, which is incredibly unsatisfying, since the book opens with plenty details about how close the two once were. There are no incredible insights from Max himself, it feels rushed and skips important topics, but it is in all a worthwhile read. But what did she have in mind for it? If you become a lover of Wallace's work, you feel almost mystically connected to all other lovers of his oeuvre, and however fantastical a presumption, we also feel connected to Wallace, the person. David Foster Wallace was so focused on becoming a novelist that he almost disregarded his immense talents with short stories, essays, articles and comedic expression. This book should clearly not be read by those for whom it was written, those unwashed masses and curiosity seekers, those grubbers and titillation seekers. I've read everything I can find about him, every interview, every article, including the New Yorker article by D.
Max, David Foster Wallace no longer does this. There were elements that felt sort of trashy and airporty, as no random hookup or binge goes unreported. The main reason wikipedia entries work so well for my procrastinatory casual research purposes is that wikis are non-emotive—you can read the blurbs of factoids any time of the day or night and you are never changed for the better or worse, just heavier with whatever information you came for, meh, and life goes on. The difficulty of such an endeavor is clear. He sets out to chart Wallace's tormented, anguished and often triumphant battle to succeed as a novelist as he fights off depression and addiction to emerge with his masterpiece, Infinite Jest. In this, the first biography of the writer, D.
It is also, however, possible that Max simply ran out of time. This really annoys some people. The binding may be slightly damaged but integrity is still intact. Some of his letters to and from other writers supply useful windows into what Wallace was thinking or at least into how he was trying to present himself. In the acknowledgements, he says that all the important people in Wallace's life were open and generous with him, but the book surely doesn't read that way. A saint is one who refuses to succumb to the seduction of the merely human morass and endeavors to extract himself therefrom and return thereto.
He was also talented in philosophy and took on the intent of joining the ideas of Wittgenstein with those of Derrida. It's a little heartbreaking how very terrible this was. Is that a bad thing? It depicted an America so plagued by tedium and meaningless routine that its citizens are in danger of dying of boredom. Max be interviewed by Ian Frazier in my local indie bookstore. David Foster Wallace is the ultimate postmodernist neurotic spoiled literary brat.
Writers like Pynchon, DeLillo, William T Vollmann, Franzen, many others, all deal with this in their fiction. I vowed, at the time I first discovered his work, that I would some day, far off in my maturation as a reader, conquer the mammoth beast that Charlie Rose flipped through and referenced in their interview. It lost power and began spinning in toward the hill. It provides much needed information and context. As the Max biography explains, Wallace started wearing the bandanna as the least embarrassing solution he could think of to obscure the intense sweating attacks that overcame him without warning.
In this bizarre arena, niceness becomes just one more mode of competition, thereby undermining itself. No one should be happy that we have a biography of David Foster Wallace. The characters and events in his novels are very present in his own life. But upon reading the final four pages of this biography, the reality of his suicide, what it must have meant for those close to him, what it must have meant for his fans, and what it meant to me as such a devotee to his work, hit me then and I became a huge mess, wailing into my shirt sleeve; it was pretty ugly. How does one concerned with living a moral and valid life approach reality in such a fragmented, distorted world? No one I spoke to knows when or whether Elman conveyed the phrase to his student. The qualms of writers of biographical material, both tactical and borne out of common courtesy and compassion, are well exemplified in the first piece that actually touched on the matter of Wallace's relationship with his mother. .
And also because I know that with this new context, I will read Infinite Jest for a third time- not that two readings cleared that fucker up, to be sure. After is published next week, let's hope for a bit of silence -- at least until the collected letters, emails, responses to student stories come out. Another reviewer already said very succinctly my overall impression of this book: it reads like a long wikipedia article. But its publication was inevitable. But that is exactly what I did here.