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Culture & Religion

Infinite Regret

“How could a writer whose prose breathed in life so fully take his own?” asks Michael O’Donnell of David Foster Wallace. A new book tries to illuminate the writer via a five-day road trip.

David Foster Wallace’s suicide “created a lacuna: the guy who wrote in the biggest, boldest type had suddenly silenced himself,” writes Michael O’Donnell. “His death prompted a publishing drive that is at once soothing and a little unseemly: Wallace’s speeches, stories, and unfinished novels keep popping up smartly packaged in bookstores and in the pages of the New Yorker. This is better and worse than watching home movies of a lost loved one. Better because for most of us, words are all we ever had from Wallace; as long as new ones appear, the illusion lingers that we haven’t lost him. Worse because home movies, unlike handsome new volumes, do not pretend to be anything but dated facsimiles. Nor are they for sale.”


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