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Home News by Category DFW Biography Lipsky's Wallace Book Released

Lipsky's Wallace Book Released

It's April 13th (in the U.S.) and that means David Lipsky's book, Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace, is now officially out.
I was lucky enough to read an uncorrected proof back in February, and it blew me away. In the interests of accountability and honesty, I met David Lipsky at the NY DFW Footnotes conference, or should I say, David introduced himself to me as a long time reader of The Howling Fantods (that made my day, David), I'm not sure who was more excited meeting whom...
Regardless, a couple of hyper-compressed conversations later and it didn't take that much for me to realise the care and sensistivity that David was bringing to his book. 
My promotion here at the fantods has not (I think) been shameless, and anyone who knows me well knows that I'm never enthusiastic about something unless I actually like it (I'm known for being completlely transparent when I tell lies, even small ones, so as I've aged I just tell the truth. It's easier even though it sometimes complicates things).
What I am trying to say is that this book is pretty good. At first I was thrown by the structure of the introductory material, but it serves the book well - it is about David Foster Wallace in life, not a rumination on his passing. Thus the structure left me feeling uplifted rather than in a dark, sad place.
It is literally a 300-odd page interview with David Foster Wallace, and quite honestly it is an autobiography in his own words. David Lipsky's asides throughout the text help to direct and support the conversation - I found them to be comforting, and for the most part insightful, I liked the extra details (music playing, facial expressions, Lipsky's internal dialogue) and the reflective thinking about a time when Lipsky himself was a younger man. 
Yes, if you're a fan, you will most likely get more out of this book than if you've only read a couple of David Foster Wallace's essays or short stories, but I think anyone with a passing interest in how an intelligent person tries to deal with a meteoric rise to celebrity will find many of the passages in this book compelling reading.
This is not a straight biography, (for that we have D.T. Max's biography on the horizon - which I'm also anticipating tremendously) but we know that. This is A road trip with David Foster Wallace, and what a road trip it is. There is something special about spending an extended period of time in confined places with someone (cars, planes, snowed-in airports) that intensifies and accelerates a relationship. 
David Lipsky's book documents this kind of thing in a way that made me connect with both Davids at a depth I had not expected.
I guess I'm saying I think you should read this book, particularly if you like the writing of David Foster Wallace. Enjoy every moment of it.
Check out our Q&A with David Lipsky.
If you'd like to win a signed copy don't forget to enter the comp.
You can read the Introduction, Preface, Afterword and a couple more ages over at the Random House site.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 April 2010 09:10  


#1 Noelia 2010-04-14 01:28
I don't think your promotion of the book has been shameless at all because the reviews have been mixed and almost all of them were posted here on the Fantods for every one to read and arrive at their own conclusions. That's fair enough. And this is a website for David Foster Wallace fans after all.
As for myself, the only reason why I have not ordered a copy yet is that I submited my "piece" to the competition so I have to wait and find out whether I won one or not. I guess I won't, but strangest things have happened.
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