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Praise. Praise for Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story: “In his revealing new biography, D.T. Max gives us a sympathetic portrayal of Wallace's life and work, tracing. Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story- A Life of David Foster Wallace. Home · Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story- A Life of David Foster Wallace. Ebook Dowload [Doc] Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David D T Max pdf, Read D T Max epub [Doc] Every Love Story Is a Ghost.
Today, the book is simply unnecessary, no matter the inevitability of its existence. But Max did a fine job of reminding us that what Wallace lived through is something we all share in varying degrees, the traumas and triumphs of this man are also of us and are exemplary of something we the living are all still dealing with. Sounds like DFW's biggest nightmare? In unveiling whatever that relationship might have been like, Max risked offending Wallace's family, a risk t This biography, useful as it is in providing some needed context, feels flimsy. I suppose that is the risk of writing a very early biography of Wallace- those who knew him are living, those to whom his work was a salvation and a guidebook through dark times are still devoted to reading and passionately discussing him, his antagonizers and supporters and friends and enemies and lovers and family are all here to read what Max wrote, to experience again in the abstraction of words what was for them an actual breathing human. Why do we feel entitled to vast pleasure?
The editors of Legacy , as well as the academic contributors, are trying to do the same thing with more specificity. The academic articles are presented as potentially new and rewarding areas of inquiry for enterprising scholars to explore, grouping them into sections labeled "History," "Aesthetics," and "Community.
Yet the most exciting directions of inquiry in this collection are not necessarily the most novel.
Ed Finn's study of how different social networks understand Wallace posits a plausible new direction for scholarship to go in; however, the resulting analysis comparing Amazon reviews to those generated by professional critics does not yield many compelling avenues for further study.
On the other hand, the three articles in the "Aesthetics" section of Legacy all focus on Infinite Jest and elaborate interestingly on existing research. Cohen's, Konstantinou's, and Houser's contributions deal with Wallace's aesthetic choices and build persuasively on what's come before. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.
American Book Review. In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: The Legacy of David Foster Wallace. If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have your own login and password to Project MUSE.
Additional Information. Project MUSE Mission Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Sort order. Apr 12, Nathan "N. No one should be happy that we have a biography of David Foster Wallace.
But its publication was inevitable. And some of us are compelled to purchase it, read it, and object to its existence.
For those of us who have followed Wallace these past two decades, D. It is an outline for a biography which will one day be written when a biography might serve the purpose of shedding light on the works of a master of his art. Today, the book is simply unnecessary, no matter the inevitability of its existence.
Could a different biography have been written in ? I very much doubt it. This is perhaps most offensive. As with any biography, Wallace is not its subject but its object. Again, this is necessarily so. Love Story is not a literary biography. This is unfortunate because it is in the books the we encounter Saint Dave. The personal and voyeuristic information we possess about Wallace--that he was depressed, addicted, an asshole, a womanizer, got angry, was generally fucked up--will be from here to eternity used to object to our attributing sainthood to Dave.
A saint is one who refuses to succumb to the seduction of the merely human morass and endeavors to extract himself therefrom and return thereto. We insist upon retaining our notion of Saint Dave because his major effort was to make being human respectable again, and the drudging up of moral failures will not sully those efforts. This book should clearly not be read by those for whom it was written, those unwashed masses and curiosity seekers, those grubbers and titillation seekers.
View all comments. Apr 12, Moira Russell rated it did not like it Shelves: Yeah, this was just. I don't even really have any smartassed thing left to say here after the inchoate spew of status updates - it was just sort of depressing to read the last anemic thirty pages or so.
It's a little heartbreaking how very terrible this was. His participation in the Lipsky round table was great. I was really looking forward to this book. I was disappointed by the excerpt but thought, maybe that wa Yeah, this was just. No, it wasn't. I wasn't expecting anything like Ellmann's Joyce or Middlebrook's Sexton. Maybe something a little more like Turnbull's Fitzgerald.
This just isn't even really a book - it's a mess. I d'know what happened, if it got edited to pieces or the hundred monkeys in the marketing department rewrote it or what. Stunningly bad. Probably the worst book I'll read all year - it's so shallow and disappointing and confused, even at a sentence-by-sentence level.
Why did it have to be so awful? Or, as someone once wrote: View all 33 comments. Non sapevo proprio niente di DFW. Non sapevo che Foster fosse il cognome della madre, che amava, ma con la quale aveva un rapporto conflittuale ed emotivamente violento, al punto che per lunghi periodi della sua vita decise di non avere contatti con lei, nonostante fosse il suo punto di riferimento per tutto quello che riguardava la conoscenza della lingua Inglese.
Troppe citazioni, troppi passaggi da riportare, troppo di tutto per riuscire a scegliere qualcosa che dia il senso di questa biografia. Quindi solo due cose, e in entrambi i casi le parole sono le sue, di David Foster Wallace. Nessun singolo istante di quel dolore era insopportabile.
Eccolo qua un secondo: Insopportabile era il pensiero di tutti gli istanti in fila, uno dietro l'altro, splendenti. E la proiezione della paura futura [ Non riesce a Resistere. Non permettere alla sua testa di guardare sopra il muro. View all 8 comments. Aug 31, switterbug Betsey rated it really liked it. All my adult reading life, I waited for a young contemporary writer to transport me to the prose-rich playgrounds of Nabokov and Pynchon.
I remember the exact moment when I heard that Wallace took hi All my adult reading life, I waited for a young contemporary writer to transport me to the prose-rich playgrounds of Nabokov and Pynchon. I remember the exact moment when I heard that Wallace took his life as I suspect did everyone who is reading this book, who read DFW before his death.
It was like a brother or best friend had died. He wasn't yesterday's insurgent Kurt Cobain, he was today's voice--the insurrectionist of the insurrection, the anti-ironist and seeker of exigent summits. Max evinces respect, compassion, and objectivity toward this now lionized author he has never met, in his biography assembled from the contributions of friends, family, lovers, AA comrades, colleagues, fellow writers, and epistolary confidants.
David was a depressed, addicted, chaotic genius, a man who felt that he never lived up to his lofty ambitions as a writer or a person.
He was both fascinated and repulsed by the TV culture and how media hijacks and propagandizes public and private minds--his constant themes in his essays, short stories, and of course, IJ.
As many know, he was hospitalized several times for breakdowns and overdoses, and struggled with pervasive suicidal ideation. Max does a virtuous job of giving the reader a candid view of the complex nature of DFW; the generously endowed writer was often a captious, violent, and tormented soul. He was also a passionate, outstanding teacher, and a patron to his companions in AA. Moreover, he was an enthusiastic dog lover, especially drawn to dogs with an abusive past.
Max captures the line between author and material with authenticity and revelation. It is almost surreal, as Max brought me back to the narrative of IJ while manifesting Wallace's actual art and pain of writing it. I don't want to spoil it for readers by dropping tidbits of information--reading about it is thrilling and gripping, the most page-turning part of the book. He was self-conscious, and self-conscious about being self-conscious, and communicated that in his letters.
I think I'm very honest and candid, but I'm also proud of how honest and candid I am--so where does that put me. It is hard to compare them, as Lipsky's is an echo and interpretation of his actual time with DFW, and this book is compiled from sources outside of the biographer.
Both have poignant insight into the ephemeral but perennial figure of Wallace. I award four stars, rather than five, although the quality of writing and extensive research is first-rate despite being almost devoid of familial testimony, and despite errors that I think are typesetting errors, not copy-editing, errors.
It's personal. Something is missing, some essence that cannot be filled by a biographer, or hasn't yet-- the unnameable, soulful reflectiveness that I ache for. The closest way to that is through the Harry Ransom Center, which is fortunately only a few miles from my home, which houses David Foster Wallace's entire archive at hand. You can feel the pages while you read what he wrote, with just a slip of a glove separating you from his words.
There is something about Wallace fans--it is as if we are all in the same karass, isn't it? But Wallace wanted to relate to us on a cosmic scale, not like an exclusive club, yet he appeals to only select not elite, but select readers. If you become a lover of Wallace's work, you feel almost mystically connected to all other lovers of his oeuvre, and however fantastical a presumption, we also feel connected to Wallace, the person.
It is apparent that D.
Max understands this, and that he is bonded to Wallace, also. That is why I think he wrote this bio, about the ghost of David, who keeps on penetrating our literary dreams. View all 13 comments.
Mar 02, Darwin8u rated it liked it Shelves: For a writer who was so hyped, celebrated and written about, it was a nearly impossible task to bring anything large or significant to the table with Wallace.
Max did a good job. He didn't write a hagiography or sycophant's biography, "That was it exactly—irony was defeatist, timid, the telltale of a generation too afraid to say what it meant, and so in danger of forgetting it had anything to say. He didn't write a hagiography or sycophant's biography, but also avoided sinking into a loop of cheap theatrics that might have tempted another biographer. It wasn't a revolution as far as DFW was concerned or as far as biographies of writers either.
For me, it was like seeing a favorite movie star on a large HD television. You are suddenly aware of many flaws that either the author or his life had obscured or kept hidden before.
You see things that seemed glossed over, or at least not obvious before. It doesn't alter one's perception of DFW too much, just zooms in and holds the historical camera still at the emotional cracks and the insecure little crevices.
Wallace's self-conscious tendencies to enthusiastically bend the truth with friends, coworkers and family and to claim achievements perfect SATs, etc that were not his, but to second guess and be discomforted by those achievements that WERE his Guggenheim Genius grant was a valuable shading to the DFW myth. Max neither polished or defaced the statue of DFW life and achievements. He simply turned the statue and revealed another dimension to the man and his infinite genius and infinite sadness.
View all 14 comments. Oct 26, Lee rated it really liked it. A complicated chap, this DFW: Squishy" upon our poor heads, an arch-grammarian thanks to his mom capable of making usage stuff look like calculations intended to trap infinity in a jar, maybe sort of a wonky weany despite his size and high-protein breakfast vomit, apparently helpless around the house beyond A complicated chap, this DFW: But I'm not here to judge the dude -- this is an impression of a biography that lays the foundation for better ones to come but which is very readable and steady and an excellent start.
I admired how it mutes for the most part its judgments, how it presents the facts, the quotations, the timeline, the memories of friends etc and always lets us see the lies as much as the kindness. Typos and misused words passify, skein didn't overly distract me but I did find recaps of all work other than Infinite Jest not so fun. Loved that he could write 22K words in a day. Loved that he brushed his teeth for 45 minutes every morning and night in college.
Loved that the opening college interview freakout in IJ was based on real events at my and Lenore Beadsman's alma mater. Loved that he turned down inexpensive Iowa on financial grounds as though he couldn't get loans and teaching jobs -- or have his parents pay his way through his MFA. After a point I couldn't put this down and it was a fine companion while cooped up sick as Superstorm Sandy devastated everything -- there's something asssociable about reading a long-awaited bio about the recently deceased DFW a man known for his overwhelming intelligence and outsized novel and the recent Frankenstorm that churned slowly up the coast.
Worth it if you've ever wondered about the guy's story, his high school history, his grades in the second semester of his sophomore year in college spoiler: What I mean is: After Both Flesh and Not: Essays is published next week, let's hope for a bit of silence -- at least until the collected letters, emails, responses to student stories come out. View all 11 comments. Aug 08, Christopher rated it it was ok Shelves: Outline for review of D.
Introduction A. Witty opening line. Grab everyone's attention. Thesis statement: There is no reason to read this book. He was a tortured genius, suffering from major depression. His brilliant novel Infinite Jest has influenced everything I've read since I read it six months ago Outline for review of D. His brilliant novel Infinite Jest has influenced everything I've read since I read it six months ago.
What I learned from Love Story. Not much. DFW was a brilliant thinker and writer and theorist, but he had these demons inside of him that made it hard to get his brilliant ideas and writings out of his head and onto the page. DFW was a womanizer. Various details of the publishing business I did not need to know.
The wisdom present in DFW's novels is not present in his own life. He is no Dalai Lama. The characters and events in his novels are very present in his own life. The structure of this biography is frustrating. The entire book assumes and points toward DFW's suicide. The book's main focus seems not to be DFW's genius, but his foreshadowed death.
The book ends suddenly with DFW's suicide. There is no discussion of his legacy or the later publishing of his unfinished novel The Pale King , etc. But it's not all bad, really. This makes me more excited to read The Pale King. But that's mostly all the good stuff. Conclusion A. Again, there's really no need to read this. Aug 24, Stephen M rated it really liked it Shelves: It lost power and began spinning in toward the hill. It was heading right for the brothers!
Luckily at the last minute the plane ceased to exist. I was struck, first of all, by his complete discomfort and what seemed to be, total aversion to social interaction.
More importantly, I left the interview in complete awe of his intellect. The combination of intelligence and emotional damage seems to be the entire focus this biography, and the focus that many take towards him. It was these two things that I noticed when I first saw him through the screen of my computer and it was these two things toward which I felt an immediate pull. I vowed, at the time I first discovered his work, that I would some day, far off in my maturation as a reader, conquer the mammoth beast that Charlie Rose flipped through and referenced in their interview.
Flashforward nine months later, to when I gave the book a first go. I set out the goal of reading thirty pages a day, and with that rate, I figured I would finish the book in about a month.
Oh, how naive I was then. I found the book to be not so much challenging and overly-difficult as it was time-consuming.
And each day I dreaded having to dive back into all those disparate plot-lines, hundreds of different characters, and page-dominating prose blocks. It was something of a mental workout routine to get through some of the sections.
Leap forward another six months, and I had found myself, once again, feeling the call of the Jest. A friend of mine had begun reading the book and singing its praises, mostly of the sections just beyond where I had left off beyond the page mark. I read chapter summaries of the sections that I had read in my first go-around, and started the book again from about page With this new resolve I charged forward through doubt and occasional incomprehension. It took me about a month and half to get through it this time, but I actually finished it.
The book had hit me like no other had—with the full-immersion experience, brought about by the intense concentration that I had to have in order to really get into its pulse. That, coupled with a new-found ability in my own reading, turned it into quite a powerful experience. Every time I sank into the book, I felt as if I had completely lost myself in another world, even if only to glean a small sense of what DFW was after with his fractured, broken story about addiction and entertainment.
It also helped that I had recently found myself in the throws of a severely debilitating mental condition that I had thought was far behind me. I grew extremely attached to the book as it seemed to totally get everything that I was going through, had gone through and what I would go through. I read Infinite Jest at the exact time I needed to and that was essential for making the experience what it was.
And even though the timing of IJ was perfect—as far as who I was as a person and as a reader—I, of course, discovered DFW long after he had given up the ghost. There was no real reason for me to ever grieve over his loss—the knowledge of his death underlay my coming to be a fan of his work.
But upon reading the final four pages of this biography, the reality of his suicide, what it must have meant for those close to him, what it must have meant for his fans, and what it meant to me as such a devotee to his work, hit me then and I became a huge mess, wailing into my shirt sleeve; it was pretty ugly. View all 39 comments. Aug 14, Geoff rated it liked it. DT Max has provided us with a chronological, journalistic, utilitarian, somewhat slight but ultimately satisfying biography-lens through which we can peer at a certain David Foster Wallace.
The other lenses through which we can observe our refracted fellow are his own writings, his interviews, the many pieces and remembrances to emerge about the man himself since his death. Each one will give us a different Wallace; if Citizen Kane taught us nothing else it was that those speaking of others can DT Max has provided us with a chronological, journalistic, utilitarian, somewhat slight but ultimately satisfying biography-lens through which we can peer at a certain David Foster Wallace.
Each one will give us a different Wallace; if Citizen Kane taught us nothing else it was that those speaking of others can never reveal but a fragment of a truth, so an untruth, or an approaching-truth. Ladies and gentlemen, let us be kind to Mr. Max- he saw to a rather unpleasant task, being the first to venture into the world of DFW biography. It had to be daunting, and he had to treat it with delicacy and distance, and it is obvious that was what he did. The trouble with writing about DFW is that the most interesting things about him were his work and his problems.
So to write of the man himself is to write of his work and his problems. And DT Max is much more a journalist than literary critic. Much about the work itself is passed over in Wittgensteinian silence- so it had to be. Not many people are capable of telling a life as well as enlightening an oeuvre. So Max stuck to the former. Just the facts, ma'am. Or the facts as they are discernible through this certain focus.
Not that Max was without his insights. I particularly like the idea he put forth that the real narrator of Infinite Jest is an immense, sympathetic intelligence that has our better interests in mind. But I had a strange experience reading this biography, which might be attributed to the fact that I read the majority of it over a two day span as I was simultaneously suffering from a mid-grade fever- I could not escape the feeling that Wallace was actually reanimated and forced to go through his tortures and achievements, his highs and lows, all over again.
That he was forced to live again, to suffer through his struggles and fame again, to approach his fate again, simply because I had chosen to read this book! I suppose that is the risk of writing a very early biography of Wallace- those who knew him are living, those to whom his work was a salvation and a guidebook through dark times are still devoted to reading and passionately discussing him, his antagonizers and supporters and friends and enemies and lovers and family are all here to read what Max wrote, to experience again in the abstraction of words what was for them an actual breathing human.
He is still alive. So maybe it might have been better not to write this book just yet. But Max did a fine job of reminding us that what Wallace lived through is something we all share in varying degrees, the traumas and triumphs of this man are also of us and are exemplary of something we the living are all still dealing with.
Putting that across seems like something of a success for this book. I think his piece on television culture and fiction and perception is essential. It also gets to the heart of a lot of what he was intending to do with his own fiction, and I think it is a rather brilliant kind of cultural inventory of where things were at in the mid's, and it can be extrapolated beyond today.
That the various levels of remove of actual experience increase as representation takes on more importance and presence. How substitutes for reality eventually supplant reality to degrees and depths from which we cannot return. How does one concerned with living a moral and valid life approach reality in such a fragmented, distorted world? This is the whole thrust behind Infinite Jest, but it is all over, super-saturating the essays in "A Supposedly Fun Thing Why are Americans so obsessed with pleasure and entertainment, as if they are ends and results and not distractions along the way.
Why do we feel entitled to vast pleasure? Why is so much advertising geared toward a product being the solution to anxieties? What is the source of the anxieties the products promise to alleviate? Why is our language so immersed in experiences we really have nothing to do with "water-cooler talk" about TV shows and sports, things that happen at great distances, geographic and experiential, from ourselves , what is the self in a world where it is claimed that through media we can be "everywhere instantly", when in fact we are nowhere, always.
What happens to our bodies when they are becoming ever more only filters for data or reproductions, imitations of images we see in media? This was his forte. His goal was to show ways to surpass this. What comes next? How do we recover attention and sincerity and control of our bodies in a world where all the tools for battling dispersion and inauthenticity have been subsumed by the forces of dispersion and inauthenticity?
Of course Wallace was not the only person thinking about this. It goes back through Marshal McLuhan and "the medium is the message" and on before that. What Wallace does so well is speak about it in the terms of the new millennium, he speaks the language of our epoch. He was that writer, the fabled one that wings down from some indefinite place and captures exactly the zeitgeist, the weltanschauung of what it is to be alive in our times.
That's why he was such a big loss. The philosophers I mentioned speak in really high-level, dense, uninviting, academic prose. Wallace wrote how people speak, found a way to get these important, deep ideas across a broader spectrum. He was a link between the academic post-Wittgensteinian world of "world as word and representation" and us common mortals who didn't graduate double summa from Amherst.
So yeah, read Wallace, essays and fiction. He is attempting to get to the core and reason of what is going on around us all the time. View all 55 comments. Workmanlike as predicted. Spits out the facts at warp speed nine. Main problem is it fails to render the aliveness of DFW or communicate the charisma of the man and his works. His life is depicted in terms of its struggles and suggests DFW inhabited a gloom-filled realm even in the moments when success and sex and productivity came his way, all of which were more abundant than the depressions and drug abuse.
A bio of this superhuman writer should be grandiose and as abundant in ambition and scop Workmanlike as predicted. A bio of this superhuman writer should be grandiose and as abundant in ambition and scope as a DFW novel. Something in the Roger Lewis line. And fails to even mention the publication of Consider the Lobster —heinous! This purple cover also offends my delicate eyes. View all 4 comments. Oct 15, Juan rated it liked it.
This biography, useful as it is in providing some needed context, feels flimsy. The most obvious missing piece in this bio is an exploration of David Wallace's relationship to his mother.
It is quite clear even from Max's work that this relationship was central both to who David Wallace was and to the stylistic and thematic choices in his work. The difficulty of such an endeavor is clear. In unveiling whatever that relationship might have been like, Max risked offending Wallace's family, a risk t This biography, useful as it is in providing some needed context, feels flimsy.
In unveiling whatever that relationship might have been like, Max risked offending Wallace's family, a risk that can derail a biography. The qualms of writers of biographical material, both tactical and borne out of common courtesy and compassion, are well exemplified in the first piece that actually touched on the matter of Wallace's relationship with his mother.
After this article was published, revealing something that reader's might have been gleaning from pieces like Suicide as a sort of present, Present Tense There is no question that family members should be spared the grief of seeing their intrafamilial relationships dissected in public in a biography.
Also, arguably, no biography of David Foster Wallace can be complete without an extensive exploration of this relationship. This conundrum probably means that we will have to wait for a definitive biography of Wallace for a few years. Further, there is extensive research done up until after the publishing of Infinite Jest in , at which point Max makes a mad dash for the finish line as if the main objective of the bio had already been accomplished.
It takes Max until page to get to the publication of IJ and he then proceeds to wrap up the next 6 books, Wallace's final crisis and all material and analysis of Pale King in 80 pages. This approach left me with the feeling that Max unspoken conclusion for the biography was that Wallace is a failed writer, that published an astounding but essentially unfollowable book in IJ. This would be a massive underestimation of Wallace's work. It is also, however, possible that Max simply ran out of time.
This was widely expected book and there must have been a lot of pressure to put it out fast. One would assume that if heavy research was put in at the early stages, it would have had to be sparse at the end with the deadline approaching.
Max's style provides evidence to support the rush theory. There are, for example, sentences that must originate in transfer from subject to biographer and that patient editing might have weeded out, such as in the inadvertently funny: The book is not badly written, but there are a few of these little surprises lying around in it.
The biography also fails to transmit what Wallace aptly called his "psychic pain". In Max's bio Wallace will be feeling depressed in one sentence and then hospitalized in the next and out of the hospital by the next paragraph.
There is a feeling that Max felt that dwelling on unsavory topics such as what it actually feels to be severely, clinically depressed was somehow offensive to his subject, or that his journalistic principles kept him from approaching the more subjective aspects of "how it felt" for Wallace.
This, of course, can all be found on Wallace's work, but one would think it necessary in a book that is supposed to provide context for his own life decisions. Is this DFW first bio worthy of your attention, then? Yes, despite its shortcomings.
It provides much needed information and context. There are no incredible insights from Max himself, it feels rushed and skips important topics, but it is in all a worthwhile read.
View 2 comments. Se siete dei fanatici di DFW buttatevi a capofitto su questo libro. Ma vale ugualmente la pena. Ci sono molte cose: I periodi di malessere, smarrimento senso di colpa. I ricoveri nei reparti psichiatrici e i riconoscimenti acc Se siete dei fanatici di DFW buttatevi a capofitto su questo libro. I ricoveri nei reparti psichiatrici e i riconoscimenti accademici. Tv, alcol, droghe, solitudine. Infinite Jest che diventa un cult. La fine. Gran lavoro di ricerca e ricostruzione dei fatti.
This is a serviceable biography of David Foster Wallace. It's not one of the best-written books I've ever read, and it will surely be hated by those who feel DFW should be spoken of only in tones of hushed reverence, but it got the job done. Sep 19, Richard rated it it was ok.
I guess I was hoping for something more rigorous. Facts and life changes are just sort of thrown out there. There's no real analysis or thoughtfulness of the kind you get out of a good biography. It reads like a decent enough, well researched, magazine profile that's been squished under a rolling pin to stretch out to three hundred pages.
There were elements that felt sort of trashy and airporty, as no random hookup or binge goes unreported. There's a " In all honesty though, being a fan of Infinite Jest, and a lot of Wallace's other writing, and being curious to know more about the life of the author, I couldn't put it down. Still, it definitely wasn't a meal.
Afterward, I got the same feeling you get after devouring a haul of halloween candy - a little guilty, a little sick, and not any wiser. Sep 04, Grace Liew rated it it was ok.
Best parts of the book by far are the flurries of DFW's quotes copied wholesale, albeit they still suffer from DT Max's flimsy attempts to give context.
The book wades only in shallow waters and rickety theories, with no cutting insights whatsoever. Why did DT Max even write this, then? Another reviewer already said very succinctly my overall impression of this book: Personally, I'm a huge wiki fan. I wiki all sorts of shit. I glean biographies of my favori Best parts of the book by far are the flurries of DFW's quotes copied wholesale, albeit they still suffer from DT Max's flimsy attempts to give context.
I glean biographies of my favorite famous people on wiki. The main reason wikipedia entries work so well for my procrastinatory casual research purposes is that wikis are non-emotive—you can read the blurbs of factoids any time of the day or night and you are never changed for the better or worse, just heavier with whatever information you came for, meh, and life goes on.
Sounds like DFW's biggest nightmare? But then again, I'm just projecting. Read the book for more than 30 pages in one sitting and you can feel the effects of the marked lack of direction. A gander at the chapter titles tells you nothing Don't get me wrong, I bought the book the day it came out, full sticker price, read it diligently and delighted at the bits of facts and DFW's witticisms, and, I suspect like many others, I bought the book because I couldn't not buy it.
His formula seems to be: The result is a lot of mundane info some of which I did love , but each mundane tidbit follows the pattern of trailing Somewhere in the middle of the book it is intimated that DFW fell out with his mother.