RIP David Foster Wallace
Blog Post by Tasha Alexander - Sep.16.2008 - 8:25 pm
I was completely stunned on Saturday night when I read the news of David Foster Wallace’s death. Knocked the wind out of me. I read The Broom of the System a few weeks back and knew at once that Wallace was someone who could play with language like few others; I like that. So I picked up Infinite Jest and filed it away as a Book I Was Saving. Wasn’t quite ready to dive into a thousand pages and footnotes, though I did find myself flipping through it every few days and getting stuck on great sentences whenever I opened it. Wallace had an extraordinary capacity for brilliant and biting satire, profound observation, and dazzling wordplay. And for all his technical wizardry, there’s an impressive sincerity in his work. Infinite Jest might not be the world’s most accessible book, but it’s worth the effort it takes to read and it’s funny as hell. Yet it’s not perfect. And maybe that’s part of what makes me so sad thinking about Wallace’s early death. We’ll never get to read the next book. Or the one after that. Or the one, years later, that would have blown us all away. Part of the joy of reading a really talented author is getting to watch that progression—to see him become the person capable of writing His Ultimate Novel. And to not get this from Wallace is a real loss. Take a minute (or stay up all night; that works too) and read something the man wrote—there’s no better way to mourn a literary loss. If postmodernism isn’t for you, at least take a look at some of his marvelous essays published in Harper’s. They’ve made them all available online here. I hope that wherever he is, DFW has found some peace. RIP xo Tasha
Tasha Alexander attended the University of Notre Dame, where she signed on as an English major in order to have a legitimate excuse for spending all her time reading. She lived in Amsterdam, London, Wyoming, Vermont, Connecticut and Tennessee before settling...