David Foster Wallace: Sunday Times Books

LISTEN HERE: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/public/audible/article1485465.ece

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David Foster Wallace changed my life. Consider the Lobster was just the first book with which he did that. These incredible essays are a lesson in how good journalism can be, and each time I read them I feel the same surge of excitement.

The thing about Wallace is he is willing to go there, in a way few chroniclers of real life do. Physically, crossing America; schlepping around porn awards, lobster festivals and on presidential campaigns, collecting such precise details that he carries a measuring tape. With no snobbery about high or low art.

He is so linguistically impressive, the title essay Consider the Lobster feels like a dare: Who could write 7,500 words on seafood? He does. Wallace can make any subject sing. Stylistically innovative, his essays feature mind-maps of footnotes, snappily capturing the modern voice as if pre-empting hyperlinks.

Yet his real skill is that he Goes There emotionally in his writing. To places I fear to go in real life. If I had to be another person, I would be him. Not because he’s a literary genius, but because his soul is so fragile, searching, raw and true. In touch with humanity in a way few people can stand. And sometimes I wonder, sadly, if that’s why he’s not still around.

7 thoughts on “David Foster Wallace: Sunday Times Books

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