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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

RIP: David Foster Wallace

Amidst the hustle-bustle of my exams, I skipped past a lot of news...... especially from the literary world. Among them was the suicide of David Foster Wallace, one of my favourite contamporary writers. Wallace's exuberant, massive, immensely erudite postmodern tome"Infinite Jest" remains a one-of-a-kind , a bona fide original in the truest sense of the word.Time Magazine included "Infinite Jest" in its list of the 100 best novels of the 20th century.

Wallace burst on to the literary scene as a precocious 25 year-old with his debut novel "Broom of the System" in 1987 which got him attention as one for the future, but it was with "Infinite Jest" that he became the rockstar of the literary world. With his characteristic flowing hair and his bandana, he cut a very popular figure among young lit-enthusiasts in America and elsewhere.
Writing on such diverse topics as tennis(he was a regional level junior player) , the food and hospitality industry, mathematics and philosophy, his writing is characterized by a quirky, offbeat style, frequent usage of footnotes and esoteric words, and a compulsive, ironic sense of humour. Many of his articles can be found online ; one of my favourite ones is this one about Roger Federer.
You can also check out this interview with Charlie Rose

Wallace suffered from depression for over two decades, and in fact had stopped taking his medication due to severe side effects. David Foster Wallace was 46, an absurdly young age to die. With his death, the literary world has lost one of its most original and brilliant voices.

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