On David Foster Wallace

13Sep08

In which The Gay Recluse remembers David Foster Wallace.

When we turned 28 or 29, our friend Marla gave us a copy of Infinite Jest.

We spent the next month or so locked in our room reading it, pretending to be sick and not going to work.

To say it was Pynchonesque doesn’t really do it justice.

DFW could write like Pynchon, but unlike Pynchon you got the sense he actually cared about his characters.

Ultimately this is why Pynchon will always be so beloved by geeks and adolescents of all ages.

Whereas DFW is more literary, and probably more obscure. He is Robert Musil to Pynchon’s James Joyce.

Once we were having dinner with some pretentious asshole who asked us who our favorite writer was.

We said David Foster Wallace.

He smiled smugly and made some quip about how his favorite author — Philip Roth — didn’t appreciate David Foster Wallace. (Or something like that.)

The point is, DFW was a hero to us not only because he was a great writer but because he hated “hideous men” like Philip Roth, John Updike, Norman Mailer and all the rest of them who were held aloft during the dark ages.

DFW was definitely the voice of a generation.

Albeit a cynical, misanthropic, suspicious and guarded generation.

When we say the DFW is in a “better place,” we aren’t talking about heaven.

But we aren’t exaggerating, either.

Life: “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.” Resquiat in pace, DFW.

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5 Responses to “On David Foster Wallace”

  1. Great post. Loved the handling of those horrible men, btw.

  2. 2 Atherton Bartelby

    What an elegaic memorial to an amazing writer (one of my genuine favorites, as well). I hope you won’t mind if I cite a few of your words in my own blog.

  3. Nicely done.

  4. 4 Joshua

    What I liked best about DFW was his absolute refusal to slip into reactionary or dismissive thought. I think many of us would be well-served to think about that a little more.


  1. 1 A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again « The Curious Affairs Of Atherton Bartelby

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