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.