Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Pynchon’

Monday Medley

What we read while listening to Enter Sandman…

Every Love Story is a Ghost Story: The Life and Times of David Foster Wallace


“We’re all lonely for something we don’t know we’re lonely for. How else to explain the curious feeling that goes around feeling like missing somebody we’ve never even met?”—David Foster Wallace

 

The hagiography around David Foster Wallace—one I’ve devoutly consumed and even added to—has grown to somewhat absurd proportions in the four years since his death. It is thus possible to view D.T. Max’s new biography, Every Love Story is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace, as yet another contribution to the cult of DFW; this, however, would miss the substance of Max’s book. Every Love Story… actually goes to great lengths to debunk many of the myths that have grown around Wallace since his death. And although Max is clearly sympathetic towards Wallace, the book doesn’t shy away from being honest about him.

One of the ways Max establishes credibility in this regard is by making clear how unreliable a source Wallace himself is. Indeed, Wallace told a remarkable number of lies about himself: lies about whether or not he had read Thomas Pynchon, lies about who he’d slept with, lies to editors about where he’d been published, lies to friends about graduate school applications, lies to women and family members and interviewers, often about things that hardly seem worth lying over. On some level, this is consistent with the popular image of Wallace as someone intensely afraid of revealing himself to people. But it is frankly troubling to read about how dodgy, immature, and narcissistic he could be at times, and Max doesn’t shy away from these unflattering details. Continue reading

The Drawing Board: UFOs

Let me set the scene for you: It’s a clear, balmy night in the small town of Roswell, N.M., and the stars are shining as brightly and crisply as I’ve ever seen them—and no, it’s not the first time I’ve ever looked. I’ve made the decision to spend the night here as I make my way to Phoenix. As of this moment, it’s been an ordinary night quite like any other, only for some reason I feel like it’s not taking as long for me to sober up, and I’m not happy about it.

A screaming comes across the sky.

As is always the case when I travel, I’ve got my copy of Gravity’s Rainbow, and I’ve cracked it open for a little reading before bedtime. Strange as it may sound, I’ve never made it past that first sentence, usually due to drunkenness, but as I’ve said, I’m not feeling so drunk tonight. And again I will fail to read on, for as I make my way toward that elusive second sentence I’m suddenly interrupted. An eerie light floods the clouded window pane of the cheap motel room I booked on expedia.com. The light draws closer, and I tremble as the rational part of me recedes as quickly as what little shadow persists beneath the window sill. Continue reading