David Foster Wallace is Dead

Sad news.  Writer David Foster Wallace was found dead in his home in Claremont, California.  He apparently hanged himself.  From the Los Angeles Times:

“David Foster Wallace, the novelist, essayist and humorist best known for his 1996 tome “Infinite Jest,” was found dead last night at his home in Claremont, according to the Claremont Police Department. He was 46.”

I first encountered David Foster Wallace when I picked up “Girl With Curious Hair” from a friend’s coffee table and was immediately awestruck by the first story about a man who dominates the game show, Jeopardy!, and the sister who finally unseats him.  Absolute brilliance.

Then I borrowed “Brief Interviews With Hideous Men,” which I didn’t finish.  I described it to my friend as “stealing a bit of my soul.”  By this, I meant that – like Pynchon – David Foster Wallace’s writing, with it’s complex and digressive style, required too much of me as reader at times.  That’s why I never brought myself to read Infinite Jest.  Now I feel as if I should.

We’ve lost one of the greatest writers of our generation, perhaps in a time when we need writers, like him, the most.

Update: I’ve been scanning the obits this morning for DFW and this one seems the most real. Tom Nissley, from Omnivoracious, remembers two of his “David Foster Wallace stories,” where he discovers DFW’s complexity and his words.  He also includes a lengthy excerpt from Infinite Jest about DFW’s imagined failure of video telephony.

Also, here is a link to one of DFW’s best pieces of non-fiction:  his 2006 profile on Roger Federer in the New York Times.

Update II: Check out Howling Fantods for a complete tribute.  Also, Harper’s has posted several DFW articles as PDFs.


One Response to “David Foster Wallace is Dead”

  1. Ben Says:

    I should probably read that copy of Infinite Jest that’s been sitting on my shelf for the last 5 years.

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