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Where do you begin with a writer as original and brilliant as David Foster Wallace? Here -- with a carefully considered selection of his extraordinary body of work, chosen by a range of great writers, critics, and those who worked with him most closely. This volume presents his most dazzling, funniest, and most heartbreaking work -- essays like his famous cruise-ship piece, "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again," excerpts from his novels The Broom of the System, Infinite Jest, and The Pale King, and legendary stories like "The Depressed Person."
Wallace's explorations of morality, self-consciousness, addiction, sports, love, and the many other subjects that occupied him are represented here in both fiction and nonfiction. Collected for the first time are Wallace's first published story, "The View from Planet Trillaphon as Seen In Relation to the Bad Thing" and a selection of his work as a writing instructor, including reading lists, grammar guides, and general guidelines for his students.
A dozen writers and critics, including Hari Kunzru, Anne Fadiman, and Nam Le, add afterwords to favorite pieces, expanding our appreciation of the unique pleasures of Wallace's writing. The result is an astonishing volume that shows the breadth and range of "one of America's most daring and talented writers" (Los Angeles Times Book Review) whose work was full of humor, insight, and beauty.
About the Author
David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York, in 1962 and raised in Illinois, where he was a regionally ranked junior tennis player. He received bachelor of arts degrees in philosophy and English from Amherst College and wrote what would become his first novel, The Broom of the System, as his senior English thesis. He received a masters of fine arts from University of Arizona in 1987 and briefly pursued graduate work in philosophy at Harvard University. His second novel, Infinite Jest, was published in 1996.
Wallace taught creative writing at Emerson College, Illinois State University, and Pomona College, and published the story collections Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Oblivion, the essay collections A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, and Consider the Lobster. He was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and a Whiting Writers' Award, and was appointed to the Usage Panel for The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. He died in 2008. His last novel, The Pale King, was published in 2011.
"The best of the best."—Elissa Schappell, Vanity Fair
"[An] intriguing collection.... What comes through clearly in the Reader is not just his originality and gorgeous prose but also Wallace's humor."—Dujour
"And now arrives this thumping great book.... A heady reminder of why we got hooked in the first place.... Wallace...had an incredible ear for the quirks and tics of spoken American - and...that is on virtuosic display throughout this Reader."—Duncan White, The Telegraph
"The time is right for THE DAVID FOSTER WALLACE READER.... As a reintroduction, or even introduction, to Mr. Wallace...it's a reminder of what a transgressive, digressive delight he could be. For teachers, it's a textbook geared to orthodoxy-free students who can pierce the carapace of Mr. Wallace's reputation and read his work with fresh eyes. And even for those who race through it, it's a jolt of sheer genius - and a horror. There are immense, intricate, leisurely pleasures to be had here, and they should not be glimpsed like the landscape from a speeding train."—Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Does a fantastic job of surveying Wallace's work."—Jonathan Russell Clark, The Millions
"A reminder of how good Wallace could be, whether he was writing about Kafka or the Illinois State Fair, whether he was making stuff up or trying to see things as they actually are."—Alexander Nazaryan, Newsweek