Tuesday, September 15, 2009


David Foster Wallace could be remembered for his nonfiction more than his novels. (3 Quarks Daily)

Now there’s no reason to think Wallace loathed writing nonfiction—it just wasn’t his passion. He aligned himself with Dostoevsky and Pynchon, not Capote and Talese, and there’s even scuttlebutt out there that he killed himself in despair over his unshapely mess of a last book and the pressure of never living up to, well, himself. I will read that last book when it comes out, for sure, and since last September I’ve decoded a fair number of his hermetic short stories and even committed a month to finishing (and I did finish!) all 1,079 pages of Infinite Jest, down to every last little cross-eyed footnote’s footnote. I felt less guilty after finishing, but yet finishing only reinforced what I’d suspected. When the Library of America editors get around to selecting a picture of the long-haired, bandana-ed, tobacco-cheeked Wallace for its 2050 catalogues, they’re not going to spotlight his fiction in this first volume. It’ll be the nonfiction he composed during spare hours.

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