“If by some paradox, this whole fuss could get me some kind of even just like a five-minute cup of tea with Alanis Morissette, that would be more than reward enough”—David Foster Wallace, 1996
In early March of 1996, Rolling Stone sent David Lipsky to join David Foster Wallace for the end of his book tour. Lipsky was to do yet another profile of Wallace, who was then the biggest literary celebrity of the world; his mammoth novel Infinite Jest was being covered in Time and Newsweek, in addition to the traditional literary avenues like The New York Times Book Review. The two spent five days together, at Wallace’s house, in Wallace’s classroom, at the airport while Wallace waited to go to his last book reading, in the car en route to Minneapolis after all flights were grounded, with the Escort who took Wallace to his reading, at McDonald’s, with Wallace’s dogs (Drone and Jeeves), etc.
The profile never ran. Tragically, Lipsky would only get the chance to use this material in “The Lost Years & Last Days of David Foster Wallace,” which Rolling Stone ran in the aftermath of Wallace’s suicide in 2008 (and which, deservedly, won Lipsky a National Magazine Award).
Fortunately for Wallace fans, Lipsky wasn’t done. He has taken the complete transcript of the audio recordings from those five days and presented them relatively unedited in Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself. Continue reading »