Howling Fantoids

David Foster Wallace, one of my all-time favorite authors, hanged himself over the weekend.  I’m thoroughly bumed out, as are about a quillion others.  Obit.

It took me about a month to read Infinite Jest, his 1,079 page masterpiece, when I was recovering from some really nasty and painful eye surgery.  In fact, I had to read the damn book with only one very nearsighted eye, squinting like a constipated Quaker, the other orb completely out of commission.  That book got me through it, and then some.

Well, that and the non-stop Percadan every 4 hours.  And tequila before bed.

I have lots of friends who enjoy reading books, and I urged them to give this monster volume a shot.  They either refused outright — who has the time and energy to consume a thousand page novel (with 300 footnotes!) — or gave up after a few hundred pages.  This went on for about 8 years.

Finally, when I told one guy I’d RE-read it if he read it, he said he’d give it a try.  He did.  He finished it.  He loved it.  And I reread it, as promised, and liked it even more the second time through.

I doubt Wallace would ever have topped that achievement, but his shorter works and essays were thoroughly enjoyable as well.  I’ll miss the hell out him.

Meanwhile, the rumor is he left a 84 page suicide note with 44 footnotes.

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11 Responses to Howling Fantoids

  1. Ortho Stice says:

    Well, I’ll miss him, of course.

  2. Beardsley says:

    You read it TWICE? I STARTED it twice. And failed to finish it twice. Maybe now I’ll try again.

  3. Frank of Oregon says:

    Very sad. I feel your pain. Who was he again?

  4. Joe Balls says:

    Meanwhile, the rumor is he left a 84 page suicide note with 44 footnotes

    That’s just nasty. Ok, I laughed.

  5. Claude Eustace Teal says:

    I don’t get the “constipated Quaker” reference.

  6. Ms Calabaza says:

    I don’t think I could sit through a 1000 page novel…I recently had trouble sitting through a 400 page one… middle-aged ADD, I guess … that was a good line though “84 page suicide note with 44 footnotes) Ha!

  7. Piles says:

    Hmmm. So what’s next? Gonna read it backwards?

    Look on the bright side. Now it’s likely you can collect his complete works.

  8. Incredible that a man who pens an 84-page suicide note with 44 footnotes cannot, in the midst of so much introspection, find even one reason to continue living.

  9. I agree with Manny. Seeded deep in the mind of a genius there’s a disconnect with reality, sometimes with a fatal outcome.

  10. Ernest Hemingway says:

    Buy you a drink, David?

  11. John McCain says:

    David Foster Wallace is fundamentally sound this morning.

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