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Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace Paperback – Deckle Edge, April 13, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1 edition (April 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030759243X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307592439
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In early 1996, journalist and author Lipsky (Absolutely American) joined then-34-year-old David Foster Wallace on the last leg of his tour for Infinite Jest (Wallace's breakout novel) for a Rolling Stone interview that would never be published. Here, he presents the transcript of that interview, a rollicking dialogue that Lipsky sets up with a few brief but revealing essays, one of which touches upon Wallace's 2008 suicide and the reaction of those close to him (including his sister and his good friend Jonathan Franzen). Over the course of their five day road trip, Wallace discusses everything from teaching to his stay in a mental hospital to television to modern poetry to love and, of course, writing. Ironically, given Wallace's repeated concern that Lipsky would end up with an incomplete or misleading portrait, the format produces the kind of tangible, immediate, honest sense of its subject that a formal biography might labor for. Even as they capture a very earthbound encounter, full of common road-trip detours, Wallace's voice and insight have an eerie impact not entirely related to his tragic death; as Lipsky notes, Wallace "was such a natural writer he could talk in prose." Among the repetitions, ellipses, and fumbling that make Wallace's patter so compellingly real are observations as elegant and insightful as his essays. Prescient, funny, earnest, and honest, this lost conversation is far from an opportunistic piece of literary ephemera, but a candid and fascinating glimpse into a uniquely brilliant and very troubled writer.

From Booklist

On assignment for Rolling Stone, Lipsky hung out with David Foster Wallace and his two dogs in Wallace’s Illinois home, then accompanied the newly minted celebrity writer on a Midwest stretch of his 1996 book tour for his meganovel Infinite Jest. Lipsky’s article was canceled, and now, in the wake of Wallace’s 2008 suicide, Lipsky’s recordings of five days’ worth of the writer’s brainy and passionate riffing on the nature of mind, the purpose of literature, and the pitfalls of both academia and entertainment are incredibly poignant. Lipsky (Absolutely American, 2003) vividly and incisively sets the before-and-after scenes for this revelatory oral history, in which Wallace is at once candid and cautious, funny and flinty, spellbinding and erudite as he articulates remarkably complex insights into depression, fiction that captures the “cognitive texture” of our time, and fame’s double edge. Wild about movies, prescient about the impact of the Internet, and happiest writing, Wallace is radiantly present in this intimate portrait, a generous and refined work that will sustain Wallace’s masterful and innovative books long into the future. --Donna Seaman

More About the Author

David Lipsky is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Magazine Writing, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, and many others. He contributes to NPR's All Things Considered, and is the recipient of a Lambert Fellowship, a Media Award from GLAAD, and a National Magazine Award. He's the author of the novel The Art Fair; a collection, Three Thousand Dollars; and the bestselling nonfiction book Absolutely American, which was a Time magazine Best Book of the Year.

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend you first read Infinite Jest, one of the best ten books ever written, hands-down.
Glenn Gallagher
In another sense the book works very well as a way for fans of DFW--and people saddened by the loss of DFW--to spend just a little more time with the man.
Kate Stokes
The book is billed as a conversation between the late David Foster Wallace and David Lipsky, a Rolling Stone journalist and novelist.
Adam Dukovich

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 113 people found the following review helpful By "switterbug" Betsey Van Horn TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
David Lipsky has done a laudable service for both David Foster Wallace and his readership with this jaunty road-trip/interview/memoir. As Infinite Jest was being launched in 1996 and Wallace was nearing the end of his book tour, Lipsky, a rising name in journalism, followed Wallace through the last week of the tour, the Midwest portion, and recorded almost every word spoken. (The piece was supposed to run in Rolling Stone , but never did. Bad timing due to the untimely death of a rock star and other foibles of the industry.) Lipsky interviewed Wallace without ever being obtrusive or intrusive. He allowed their relationship to form organically, gradually, and avoided a forced fellowship. Rather than a stilted outcome of an interview, this cohered with warmth, wit, warts, a wink here and there, and a wily charm. A salty, chatty Wallace emerges as a captivating and unreliable narrator of his own life.

Lipsky precedes the interview with a mighty potent "afterword," a several page editorial that is also filled with specific facts about Wallace's depression and suicide. I sprung a leak; it was like he died all over again and I had to mourn him once more. It was tender, frank, and genuine. This is also the only section where it is revealed that Wallace had been on MAO inhibiters (an old-school anti-depressant) since 1989, a fact that Wallace chose not to reveal in the interviews. On the contrary, Wallace fairly denied being (currently) on any medication for depression. But, throughout the text of the interview, Lipsky tells the reader each time the author's watch beeped an alarm.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By John D Cooper on August 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself is essentially a transcript, set into 310 pages of text with minimal editorial work. Nothing appears to have been left out, and little has been added aside from the frequent interviewer's notes, which resemble stage directions in a screenplay. Lipsky also adds a short introduction, a preface, and a sensitively written afterword, all placed at the front of the book. A list of cultural references (movies, television shows, songs, and books) appears at the end of the volume.

The conversations are varied, mostly undirected, and sometimes repetitive, with abrupt transitions between topics and as the time and place suddenly change. The young Lipsky (30 at the time of the interviews, to Wallace's 34) quickly becomes a personality to the reader: what he doesn't reveal about himself in his questions, he reveals in the interviewer's notes. His envy of Wallace's success with Infinite Jest is front and center, as is his mistrust of his subject's generosity and openness. (Wallace, in a mixture of Midwestern hospitality, genuine niceness, and strategy, accepted Lipsky as a house guest and driving partner during the last stages of his book tour.) Whenever Wallace says something complimentary to Lipsky, the interviewer makes a note: Flattery. Trying to win me to his side. Cagily implying that we're equals. Flirting. But it's Lipsky who is infatuated with Wallace, astonished by every flash of humor, each revelation of familiarity with cultural ephemera (the movie True Romance; Alanis Morissette). Lipsky, a New Yorker, is particularly fascinated by Wallace's Midwestern way of speaking. Intermittently, he transcribes in dialect, recording Wallace's "something" as "sumpin'" and "doesn't" as "dudn't.
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53 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Adam Dukovich on March 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Probably the biggest question that you, someone who at least must have a passing interest in David Foster Wallace to be visiting this page, would like answered about this book is: does it deliver the goods? The book is billed as a conversation between the late David Foster Wallace and David Lipsky, a Rolling Stone journalist and novelist. Is it worth reading? I would enthusiastically say yes, even if you haven't cracked Infinite Jest, or finished Consider The Lobster. It's pretty true that you can get a good sense of the sort of person Wallace is by reading his work, but the book gets across a lot of new detail and stuff I wasn't aware of. The conversation is frequently engrossing, and it covers incredibly diverse terrain, including Wallace's very complicated relationship with fame, his interesting thoughts about pop culture and the future of entertainment and books (which are actually pretty optimistic, considering the sheer tonnage of writerly sentiment about the end of civilization), as well as a lot of stuff about Infinite Jest, then brand new, and what he thought the main points of the book were, with some argumentation and elaboration with the author about them. There's a lot about Wallace's drug problems and depression in here, which cannot help but be more than a little sad. Wallace sincerely believed that people just can't ever be completely happy, that there's a restless part of us that can never be satisfied, and while that is a debatable notion I do think it turned out to be true in his case. Lipsky tactfully points out some hints of Wallace's future trajectory along the way, but one can kind of sense that despite the zeal that Wallace had for his work and for quite a bit of life, that the guy had a lot of issues and that writing never completely purged them.Read more ›
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