Out of time

Writing fiction takes me out of time. That’s probably as close to immortal as we’ll ever get.

- David Foster Wallace (1962-2008), from his first interview (as quoted in The New Yorker, 9 March 2009).

A FRIEND of mine had a copy of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, a novel of massively intimidating size (1996, 1000+ pages) which I never attempted, but to which my gaze was always distracted, there where it used to squat, huge and menacing, on the bookcase in the digs lounge. I did however read A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (1997), a collection of essays which I enjoyed.

A recent New Yorker has a very good long essay on Wallace, “The Unfinished”, as well as a piece of fiction by him (I think it is an excerpt from an unfinished novel, working title The Long Thing and forthcoming from Little, Brown, 2010). After reading the essay, I now want to read Infinite Jest and whatever other material by Wallace I can lay my grubby hands on.

“The Unfinished” (essay by D.T. Max)

“Wiggle Room” (David Foster Wallace)

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8 Responses to Out of time

  1. TLS says:

    *!@? that’s 13 pages long. No wonder there is so much ‘unfinished’ business with regard to this David Foster Wallace.

  2. TLS says:

    But ‘Wiggle Room’ looks like it could “take me out of time”.

    “Out of time”, so that’s why I enjoy reading so much. Is there a job where I can be paid to read? Fiction especially.

  3. [...] Quotes | Tags: post-colonialsm, post-political I am a loyal reader of Groundwork, who posted a quote by David Foster Wallace today. The quote inspired me to find one of my own quotes that was equally thought provoking and [...]

  4. Justin Slack says:

    Harpers made everything he wrote for them available last September:

    http://www.harpers.org/archive/2008/09/hbc-90003557

    In fact, they’ve just (last week) made their entire archive available:

    http://harpers.org/

  5. Trinny says:

    Bizarre – I´ve been wanting to read Infinite Jest ever since I read another blog post about David Foster Wallace a couple of months ago. Even looked in the quite big bookshop yesterday, but wasn´t in stock. Will try the other, bigger, more Japanese book shop on the weekend… Although have more than enough reading material at the moment. You ever read Death and the Penguin?

  6. Rustum says:

    TLS, print it out (at work) and read it during lunch or sumpin’.

    Justin, good news about Harpers; I’ve actually just started reading “The Depressed Person”, grabbed from Harpers. The Wallace site looks like a timewaster’s paradise. I’ll skirt around it a bit next week.

    Trinny, has the litfest been? Have you been?

  7. Trinny says:

    Ja, went, saw Chimamanda Adichie (amazing, powerful), Andrey Kurkov (made me laugh, in a good way), and Nassim Nicholas Taleb (painful, have feeling his book is better than his persona).

    Poetry fest also. Excruciating. Bad translations. Bad poetry. Bad violin playing. Women wailing. Much gnashing of teeth (by yours truly, the teeth gnashing, not the wailing, although it was close.) Half of one session was as much as I could stand. So spent the rest of the time terrorising a bemused and hungover Imraan by dragging him around to see further evidence of Dubai´s plasticity.

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