Tuesday, September 16

Infinite Sadness.

I have wanted to read David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest for years now. But always put it off - too big, too deep, too daunting. But yesterday, as I listened to the clearly saddened reporters on NPR recount David Foster Wallace's suicide by hanging over the weekend, I felt moved to find myself a copy of Infinite Jest just as quickly as I possibly could. So I called my local book shop, Browser Books, and yes, lo and behold, they had but just one copy of Infinite Jest left. It was mine if I come by soon. So I walked on down at a quick pace, and picked up my copy of the beautiful book, and as I walked back home up hill, I felt slightly obnoxious about the strange pride I felt with this rather intimidating, 1,000-page masterpiece tucked under my arm.

And, now, after just reading Dave Eggers' 2006 foreword in Infinite Jest, I wondered how he and other literary friends of Mr. Wallace's might be feeling today. Not good, not good at all I presumed, so I went to McSweeney's to see if I might be able to see if they were all right. I saw that they were not all right, and obviously quite deeply saddened, as I had suspected. So, I'm going to dive in, as Dave suggested in his foreword, and read this novel as a tribute to David Foster Wallace, and as a way of saying I am sorry for the loss of such an interesting human being, and one of literature's great geniuses. I look forward to reading the McSweeney's tributes to David Foster Wallace, as well. I hope you'll take a look, too. We all need to read up.

13 comments:

Alicia said...

My husband has been a huge fan of Wallace's since high school and has been so upset by the news. I'd put off reading him as well, but I started "A supposedly fun thing I'll never do again" today.

Charlie @ So Lovely said...

David Lipsky on David Foster Wallace:

When someone very gifted kills themselves, its like the best student dropping out of high school. There's tragedy, but its set in a particular and personal fear: What are they seeing that we don't?
From NPR

So sad. Lovely post.

jennifer in sf said...

I put off reading IJ for a long time as well, and only read it about a year ago, something I quite regret. It is a truly amazing book, and by all accounts DFW was an amazing person as well. It is very, very sad.

Anonymous said...

victoria you amaze me everyday...you are such a cool, lovely woman. enjoy the book i've read some of it and it was wonderful. perhaps now thanks to you and your reminder i will finish where i left off. thank you.

maaike said...

I was shocked to hear this tragic news. Infinite Jest has been on my shelf for over a year now.. It's time to dust it off.

SARAHSPY said...

same here. its been on my "to read" list forever & now that this has happened, i feel compelled to finally pick it up.

Ellen said...

I'm still so shocked and saddened by the news. When I read about it on Monday, I literally gasped out loud. I can't even remember the last time news -- good or bad -- has had that affect on me.

Anonymous said...

Victoria-- I wasn't at all aware of him until I visited your blog just now. Then I went to mcsweeney's, another place i am not familiar with. I have to say how much I admire your writing about what has happened and how you feel about it.
it is tempting to stick to safe topics, esp. on a blog. You are a design diva, yet you marched right into the discussion about a writer who clearly touched so many lives. Bravo, and keep on keepin' on.

lovelymorning said...

infinite jest is one of my favorite books of all time. you are in for a treat, i tell you. he was certainly a literary genius and like all rare talents that are gone too soon, he will be deeply missed.

Jen Bradford said...

Oh, thank you for this post. I mostly blog about art and design as well, but was incredibly upset to hear about DFW (and broke my usual OT self-censorship to post about him also...) so this was reassuring to see. I loved his mind - IJ is filled with such sweetness - that always thrummed through everything he wrote for me, for all the darkness and doubt, there was such love and delight in other people and their work.

His wife is an artist, and I have thought about her every day.

sfgirlbybay said...

thanks everyone for your comments about DFW. i am reading the book and laughing right outloud. it pains me that someone so funny, was ultimately so sad. i am sure he is so missed.

Moira said...

Thought you might be interested in this sad but illuminating article about his final days...
http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2008/09/26/david_foster_wallace/

I have never read him either. I will.

sfgirlbybay said...

thank you so much for sharing that moira - i will take a look.