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September 13, 2008


Clair Lamb

What. The. Fuck.


Bill Peschel

Please. Please don't romanticize depression.

It is sad and a loss for literature, but it doesn't represent anything more than one man's sad decision.

David J. Montgomery

"a seismic shift in American culture"?

That might be a bit strong.

Very sad for his family. Suicide is a crushing blow to those left behind.

Marcus Sakey

I don't know -- I tend to go with Sarah. I think the man's influence was astonishing considering his comparatively small catalog of books. And INFINITE JEST is one of the most exhilarating books I've ever read twice.

The thing that makes me really sad is that for all its evident genius, IJ was the work of a man with so much talent he could barely wrangle it. I was really looking forward to seeing what he might do in ten years, or in twenty, when he had really come into his own.

Breaks my heart.

David J. Montgomery

Michiko Kakutani has a nice piece about Wallace on the Times' website:



Very sad news. The Washington City Paper piece is worth a read too, if only for the interview quote, which includes an incredibly astute observation from Wallace on the genre wars:


Nathan Cain

I think Ms. Kakutani's essay was a pretty good assessment of his work. He was a talented writer, but he'll never get a chance to be truly great now. He needed to be more focused and disciplined. Infinite Jest was a mess. I read it when it came out because I was a teenager and didn't know any better. Now, if someone told me I should read a 1,000 plus page work of fiction with footnotes I would politely decline. Life's too short.

Chandler Hill

"...a seismic shift in American culture." A comment like this requires either more distance from bad news or a greater knowledge of American culture. This is endemic of everything that is wrong with the Internet and its instantaneous ability to commit 'first thought / best thought' to posterity. This is the kind of comment that belongs in someone's diary to revisit years later and cringe.


DFW's death is almost certainly a "seismic shift in American culture." He was one of the few writers who wrote in an erudite and idiosyncratic voice, and managed to get the public interested. His influence on numerous literary figures is tremendous. His popularization of postmodernism is unquestionable. There was simply no other figure writing in the manner that he did alive today who reached such an audience. Of course, if your own view of culture extends no more than bad commercial pop music and assorted offerings on the idiot box, I can see why you might be perplexed by such a statement.

Jeanne Ketterer

Very, very sad. May he rest in peace. I hope his wife and family will be given the privacy to grieve.

I believe all the public speculation, opinions about suicide just adds to their grief. I'm not certain how I'd feel if my husband or close family member's personal health was so widely discussed, but unfortunately with our internet culture there isn't much privacy.


Stacey Cochran

Part of what drove me to Oracle, Arizona to pursue my writing fulltime in 2001 was the fact that DFW had gone to grad school twenty miles down the road in Tucson.

I mean, he had that much influence on me.

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