Monday, April 29, 2013

Every Ghost Story is a Love Story: The life of David Foster Wallace

Just finished this biography of David Foster Wallace but it was strange since his death still seems very recent. I had tried Infinite Jest before he died and fell off the wagon around page 200. I should say it was too difficult for me at the time. I did read A Supposedly Fun Thing I Will Never Do Again his book of essays. Very good. So I had not given the either of these books much thought and then I read his biography and started reading Infinite Jest again. But to the biography.

Wallace is a fascinating character and as a writer just about the top of the mountain .There are few writers who can make Franzen seem like easy reading but Wallace does. This is hard because Wallace had such a crippling disease so wrapped up with his writing. His genius and his virulent depression seemed to occupy the same room. And when the depression overtook him there was little he could do but wait for the drugs or electroshock back it off.

But the story of his life between all this and his brilliant fiction he wrote while he wrestled with the beast is illuminating. And like Wallace and his writing this review will not sum up the writer or his work because he is too complex. The biography does seem to skim though his life at times and it does end very abruptly with his suicide. Shocking in a way.

And so really all one is left with is Infinite Jest. Which is the way it should be. I think he is all in there and so really it is the book that has to be read. I am making my way through it slowly and with respect. If not awe.

Books by William Hazelgrove