Originally Posted by Gordon
Man that's awesome. If you could, please tell me what the word is on it after you get through it.
Sure thing, man.
I take it you're more familiar with DFW than I am (having only read The Pale King, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and his latest collection of essays), so coming from my newbie POV, I think the book does a fine job of outlining his academic/creative side and background, coupled with a scrutiny of his writing style and influences from Wittgenstein (most interesting part of the book).
On the other hand, possibly due to Mother Wallace not wanting to give interviews with the author or whatnot, there's a major hole in the donut regarding DFW's, how do you say, fallout with his parents. His depression is covered in great detail. The author's language incorporates Wallace's own linguistic genius with his own to beautiful effect, even if it feels declarative, i.e. he went to Amherst, then he wrote Broom of the System, then he was depressed, then he had another girlfriend, etc.
I liked, too, how he was pretty much a conflicting character throughout his own life; polite in written correspondence, but kind of a dick to his students. And other writers, too. His comment on a later Updike novel is choice: "like a penis with a thesaurus."
So, in short, from my end, I think it gives a fascinating but short shrifted look at his tormented genius. The last chapters seem to breeze through his latter years until his suicide, and then kind of peters out. Best thing I could compare it to is that Greg Olson book on David Lynch. Insightful but full of redundancies.
So....done with that, now I'm on:
- Ian McEwan