While the book is interesting and yields neat stuff that makes you appreciate Wallace's humanity – he surprisingly asks Lipsky what “seigneurial” means – the problem is that the interview hasn't been silently corrected: It's full of gaffes. I know it's Wallace unplugged, but it's vexing to read pages of “I mean I know, you know, I mean I . . .” or “and uh, so, so no.”
Still, it's nice to have Wallace's brainvoice in your head, and Lipsky does turn up some finds. That Wallace loved velvety cotton and consequently appropriated his sister's softer blouses; that he felt inferior to novelist William T. Vollmann; that he was a towel boy at a private club and a security guard for Lotus Software Corp. (after two books and O. Henry and Whiting awards!). Also, that he never heard of Kurt Cobain until after Cobain's suicide, drank two six-packs of pop a day, loved Enya's music and burned for Alanis Morissette.