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)