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Visit Amazon's books blog, Omnivoracious.com, to read an exclusive essay from D.T. Max: "5 Things You Didn't Know About David Foster Wallace - But Should."
*Starred Review* As endlessly interpretable writer David Foster Wallace’s first biographer, New Yorker staff writer Max seeks to be foundational. His straight-ahead approach corrals the commotion of Wallace’s struggle with his epic artistic visions, substance abuse, and severe depression into an involving, fast-flowing narrative rich in facts and free of speculation. So seamless is Max’s reportage that one loses sight of how many sources he consulted to fully chronicle young Illinoisan Wallace’s inherited passions for language and philosophy, spectacular academic achievements, self-medication with pot and alcohol, chaotic relationships, teaching gigs, and sustaining alliances with his agent, editors, guiding light Don DeLillo, and friend Jonathan Franzen. Max presents meticulous coverage of off-the-charts-smart Wallace’s literary intentions and innovations, from his impressive early first book, The Broom of the System (1987), to his nonfiction escapades to the bludgeoning demands of his masterpiece, Infinite Jest (1996), and The Pale King (2011), the brilliant novel this MacArthur fellow left unfinished when he committed suicide, in 2008, at age 46, at which point this biography abruptly concludes. Max’s thorough account of Wallace’s breakdowns, stints in psychiatric institutions and a halfway house, and profound reliance on support groups reveals the conviction and risks inherent in Wallace’s mission to write with integrity, humor, sincerity, and artistic incandescence and to make “the head throb heartlike.” --Donna SeamanSee all Editorial Reviews
An excellent biography of DFW. Very well written and researched. If you want to know the details of DFW's relatively short life then you will not be disappointed with this book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by BrokenArrow
I read this book in a single sitting, a rare event in my life with books. One of the joys of this book is Mr. Read morePublished 1 month ago by William Gianopulos
Lots of important fascinating detail about DFW's life and writing. The end was a bit abrupt and empty for me; maybe Max should have left it off, as DFW would have.lPublished 1 month ago by jester
My order arrived in perfect condition, better than advertised, and whimsically wrapped in delightful tissue paper, carefully taped -- as lovely as any Christmas present. Read morePublished 1 month ago by joe dos santos
The author is no Lytton Strachey. I am a DFW fan and was curious about his life and how his mental illness affected his work. Read morePublished 3 months ago by M. Burke
I have had a long standing love affair with Wallace and this book was enlightening and heartbreaking at the same time.Published 3 months ago by Jennifer Person
Compelling, but I would have liked to see more about Wallace's relationships with his parents, in particular. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Dee
Love this book, it's a great introduction to DFW's life and work. Here's a sample DFW quote from the book: "[W]e'd probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and... Read morePublished 7 months ago by noochinator