NY Times, Sept. 14, 2008. “David Foster Wallace, whose prodigiously observant, exuberantly plotted, grammatically and etymologically challenging, philosophically probing and culturally hyper-contemporary novels, stories and essays made him an heir to modern virtuosos like Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLillo, an experimental contemporary of William T. Vollmann, Mark Leyner and Nicholson Baker and a clear influence on younger tour-de-force stylists like Dave Eggers and Jonathan Safran Foer, died on Friday at his home in Claremont, Calif. He was 46.
“A spokeswoman for the Claremont police said Mr. Wallace’s wife, Karen Green, returned home to find that her husband had hanged himself. Mr. Wallace’s father, James Donald Wallace, said in an interview on Sunday that his son had been severely depressed for a number of months.
“A versatile writer of seemingly bottomless energy, Mr. Wallace was a maximalist, exhibiting in his work a huge, even manic curiosity — about the physical world, about the much larger universe of human feelings and about the complexity of living in America at the end of the 20th century. He wrote long books, complete with reflective and often hilariously self-conscious footnotes, and he wrote long sentences, with the playfulness of a master punctuater and the inventiveness of a genius grammarian. Critics often noted that he was not only an experimenter and a showoff, but also a God-fearing moralist with a fierce honesty in confronting the existence of contradiction.
“David Foster Wallace can do practically anything if he puts his mind to it,” Michiko Kakutani, chief book critic of The New York Times, who was not a consistent praiser of Mr. Wallace’s work, wrote in 2006. “He can do sad, funny, silly, heartbreaking and absurd with equal ease; he can even do them all at once.”
Read his incredible commencement address at Kenyon College in 2005. This is water Note that the NYT calls him a “God-fearing moralist….” Whatever god he feared, or believed in, was not enough to give his life enough meaning that he would prefer to keep it, rather than take it. What a lesson! He said in his speech, and I paraphrase, “we have no choice but to worship–it is hard-wired–but only the choice what to worship.” I might add, our choice is between only 2 options: WE CAN WORSHIP THE CREATOR, or creations. The former leads to eternal life with THE CREATOR, the latter to ultimate futility and an eternal something with….well DFW found out. I hope you do not.