I really liked this journalistic account of the life of David Foster Wallace. Its primary focus is on how his professional and personal life resulted in the publication of his novels and nonfiction, so a lot of it is about the publishing industry, universities where Wallace worked, and his literary friendships. Some of the reviews I read on Goodreads seemed to think the book wasn’t long enough, but it satisfied me — I did not want to read a long scholarly biography or extended analysis of his early childhood, etc.
A lot of this book is sad, though. It made me realize how private Wallace was in his life, and how little I knew about him (despite being a big fan) when he was alive. A lot of the revelations here involve his somewhat troubled personal life. I guess it should have been obvious to me that whoever wrote “Infinte Jest” would not be Mr. Happy Happy Normal, but I always liked to think of Wallace as living a life of basic contentment and balance. This book shows that wasn’t the case, at least part of the time, and in detail. On the whole though, I enjoyed this book, it was very readable, and it will certainly enhance my understanding of Wallace’s work. While I was reading it, I found myself constantly going back to my bookshelf to pull down Wallace’s work, and I can’t think of a better compliment to a literary biography than that.
WelcomeYou've arrived at the online home and blog of Angie Drobnic Holan. You'll find information here about me and my work in journalism and librarianship, especially fact-checking. (Read more about me.) I also blog about books I read, places I visit and food I cook.
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- 10 things I like about George Washington September 9, 2018
- The Atlantic’s Humanity + Tech event: How can we combat fake news and digital misinformation? September 8, 2018
- Bots & Ballots podcast August 6, 2018
- The fake news of George Washington’s era July 4, 2018
- Global Fact V in Rome June 25, 2018