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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
It's wonderful to read David's thoughts, and these are fine pieces, collected in an attractive volume. Do note, however, that four of the six interviews collected here were already anthologized in the University Press of Mississippi's excellent and devoted "Conversations with David Foster Wallace."

Conversations with David Foster Wallace (Literary Conversations Series)

The two remaining pieces are easily found online.

Here: [...]

and here: [...]
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
David Foster Wallace was interesting in everything he said. He was just an extraordinarily brilliant intelligent and interesting person. The 'brain voice' was that of a first- rate mind working at a level most of us can do are best to grasp some part of. I do not believe his political or social or religious of even aesthetic opinions constitute some remarkable new vision of what the world and humanity are all about. But I do believe his literary style, his way of talking and thinking and writing are those of a truly original great American literary mind. I also believe that there is a kind of benevolence radiating from his remarkable verbal gymnastics. The man had character, soul style and a vocabulary and mode of expression which would shame the late Bill Buckley.
What is also felt in these interviews is of course his great intensity, seriousness and sense of responsibility. The weight of the world is somehow upon his words and however lightly he plays them at some times one feels the still sad grating music pervading it all.
His interviewers like perhaps everyone else who met him must have felt something of the distance, of knowing themselves just not quite on the level of this particular true artist.
I enjoy reading interviews in general. I know the 'Last Interview' series is slight, reprints things easily available elsewhere, does not have usually some new and interesting piece. But it's good to have the pieces collected together.
This set opens with his well- known interview with Laura Miller about his 'Moby Dick' whale of a book, 'Infinite Jest' In the final interview Christopher Farley speaks with him about the piece he has done on John McCain. Wherever Foster- Wallace is he will not supply the conventional pleasing answer but will find a way of being surprising, if not always contrarian.
This guy was a great gift to the American and global literary world. Whether story, novel, essay, interview he delivered the goods.
PS One additional element of Foster-Wallace's appeal is his way of speaking about himself, his modesty, his questioning, his non- dogmatic way of reply. He is the thinking, questioning person who seems always open to sudden insight and revelation about himself and about the world. He of course gets A-plus for self- consciousness but this does not seem selfish, for he always seem to have empathy for the one he is addressing. His own loneliness is at the heart of his understanding of the loneliness of others, and his wanting and willing to listen to the one who is questioning him make his answers even more meaningful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2014
This is a collection of interviews with David Foster Wallace, which is published posthumously. DFW does these interviews either face-to-face or by e-mail (which he perfers, as he refers to himself as a “five-draft man”).

On “Infinite Jest“:

MILLER: What were you intending to do when you started this book?
DFW: I wanted to do something sad. I’d done some funny stuff and some heavy, intellectual stuff, but I’d never done anything sad. And I wanted it not to have a single main character. The other banality would be: I wanted to do something real American, about what it’s like to live in America around the millennium.
MILLER: And what is that like?
DFW: There’s something particularly sad about it, something that doesn’t have very much to do with physical circumstances, or the economy, or any of the stuff that gets talked about in the news. It’s more like a stomach-level sadness. I see it in myself and my friends in different ways. It manifests itself as a kind of lostness. Whether it’s unique to our generation I really don’t know.

On using pop-cultural references in his writing:

MILLER: Are you trying to find similar meanings in the pop culture material you use? That sort of thing can be seen as merely clever, or shallow.
DFW: I’ve always thought of myself as a realist. I can remember fighting with my professors about it in grad school. The world that I live in consists of 250 advertisements a day and any number of unbelievably entertaining options, most of which are subsidized by corporations that want to sell me things. The whole way that the world acts on my nerve endings is bound up with stuff that the guys with leather patches on their elbows would consider pop or trivial or ephemeral. I use a fair amount of pop stuff in my fiction, but what I mean by it is nothing different than what other people mean in writing about trees and parks and having to walk to the river to get water a 100 years ago. It’s just the texture of the world I live in.

On being furry:

DFW: I’ve never had a beard. I’ve tried periodically to grow a beard, and when it resembles, you know, the armpit of a 15-year-old girl who hasn’t shaved her armpit, I shave it off.
Q: I mean, when you have something like the oil rigs “bobbing fellatially”—
DFW: Yeah, except that’s exactly how they look. [Laughs]

On reviews:

Q: Do you read reviews of your work
A: It’s tempting to. It’s also tempting to try and eavesdrop on people who are talking about you and don’t think you can hear them. But you almost always get your feelings hurt if you eavesdrop like this. It’s the same way with reviews. It took me a while to figure out that reviews of my work are not for me. They’re for potential book-buyers. I have a nice tight established circle of friends and associates I can send stuff to and get honest critical response that helps me make the stuff better. By the time the stuff is published, though, anything I hear about it amounts to me eavesdropping.

And, to finish off, a quote from an interviewer to DFW:

Anyway, I remember you once actually answering your phone by saying not “Hello” but “Distract me,” which struck me as the truest way to put it—when you pick up the phone, you’re leaving the submersion of good writerly concentration.

All in all, this is a short book which works well into getting insight to how DFW’s mind worked. I think reading his interviews is a way to get into his authorship, even though his writing, especially “The Pale King“, is unlike his interview techniques. For further interview reading, soon to be turned into film, I must recommend “Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace” by David Lipsky.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2014
The book provides further info about DFW--lots of things that I haven't read anywhere else. I found it especially interesting reading the difference between the interviews that were premeditated (e.g. he gave some through email exchanges) and the ones that were done live. There are many interviews included and the quality varies. Surprisingly, I found his "last interview" to be the least interesting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2013
These interviews were as incisive and as interesting as his essays. The book was like having a conversation with the man, except the interviewers held up their end much better than I could have. I heartily recommend this to anyone who has some familiarity with DFW's works.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2013
Arranged in chronological order, the interviews allow the reader to hear the voice of David Foster Wallace throughout his abbreviated life.
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on August 27, 2015
DFW was unique and brilliant. In these short interviews, you get a strong sense of the man and yet, he seems out of reach, as though he came forward and then withdrew. It's difficult to read his interviews because he struggles so in them and it does not seem like a positive experience for him. The last interview, just a few scant pages, was so brief that it felt like a shock to know that that was it. Those were his last printed words (although he didn't print them), and then he would be gone to us. Somehow, I feel an overwhelming sense of sadness about everything that has to do with David Foster Wallace. Maybe because of what I know and maybe because of what we will never know.
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I liked seeing several perspectives of a Mr. Wallace, and hearing them in his own voice.

I'd recommend this obviously to any fans of Mr. Wallace who still, like me, miss him. But I'd recommend it as strongly to people unfamiliar w/Mr. Wallace and who would like to learn more about him and his work before delving into his writing.

I gave it 5 stars because the quality of the interviewing and responses started high and stayed that way.
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on December 22, 2014
What anyone truly interested in this book should realize is that the actual 2008 "last interview" is just over 4 small pages at the back of the book. While it's all fine content, I find the title a bit misleading--since 2008 I've hungered for insight into DF Wallace's final months, and if insight is to be found, it's not in this book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2013
What a loss for all who take a broad perspective and interest in people and social themes. Obviously David Foster Wallace struggled mightily with dealing with many aspects of society and in the end could not wrestle successfully with his demons. David Foster Wallace is a great and worthwhile contributor to the land of literature and thought.
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