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August 30, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
The author is gone. There will be no more books, short stories or interviews. But the saga is not yet over. The first full-length biography of the award-winning novelist who committed suicide is out. Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace will be released for fans who have followed the writer who died in 2008 at the age of 46.
Since early adulthood, Wallace struggled with depression. His sister, Amy, was quoted in The New Yorker as saying, “I think he was always afraid that the last thing he wrote would be the last thing he wrote.”
From 1987 until his death in 2008, Wallace published two novels, three collections of short stories and six non-fiction pieces. Posthumously, Little, Brown and Company published two non-fiction pieces and a novel, The Pale King.
Wallace’s style of writing is reminiscent of a child on a playground: nothing stands still. And it seems as if any character, no matter how minor, could seamlessly become the new focus without the story losing momentum.
Author D.T. Max gets exclusive interviews with Wallace’s family and friends and helps to tell the story of the writer’s life and death. Max attempts to untangle the intricate web of Wallace’s psyche that eventually led to a deep state of depression.
Max’s book sheds new light on a literary mind that represented a generation. In 2005, Time magazine included Infinite Jest in its list of the 100 greatest English-written novels since 1923.
Max had a chance to talk with those who knew Wallace best and also got unpublished writings, audio recordings and manuscripts.
In 2008, Wallace left his fans with many questions. This book might provide some answers.
Infinite Jest (1996)
This novel is one of Wallace’s critically acclaimed writings. In it, a film titled Infinite Jest goes missing. There’s an urgency to find it because it’s so profound that those who watch it become lifeless and unable to appreciate anything else. They saw perfection and couldn’t cope. The plot develops as a group tries to use the incapacitating film as an act of terrorism.
Consider the Lobster (2005)
In this collection of essays, Wallace touches on a variety of subjects. The title essay, which was previously published in Gourmet magazine in 2004, is about the morality and ethics of boiling a lobster alive. His psychological discussion of what the lobster must feel in the scalding water led to criticism from the cooking community.