The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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The Last Book I Loved - Oblivion

DFW is categorically, unquestionably, miraculously the best writer of the past twenty, fifty, one hundred, maybe forever years. According to me, that is, because I will not speak for anyone else, not on this type of subject matter. He is the first writer I’ve seriously considered the great full stop of my lifelong reading expedition, the ‘The End’ of my reading career: that I could never seek to read any other author after now because DFW writings unaccompanied could satiate me until I shuffle off this etc. But in saying this, of course, reading DFW is also the opposite of an ending, as the first experience of his work is a kind of new-seeing, a strain of becoming, some form of upheavally beginning, some type of newbornish opening up of the world. DFW grants me pleasure and fulfilment that I have not hit upon in other parts of my life—and my life is a very high-quality life—but he also inspires in me discontent and restlessness, so that I want to dash out and read every single word ever written about every single topic, ever. Furthermore, every subterranean answer he offers in his work is wrapped in layers of questions, like that children’s birthday party game Pass-the-Parcel whereby a prize is wrapped in layers of paper. Within DFW’s writing you can unwrap deep enough time and time again to find yourself another prize, a treat of some nuggetty nucleus of real truth, and during the unwrapping process you’ll glance just over there and see in other rooms of the party more games of Pass-the-Parcel are taking place, an almost-infinite amount of rooms and games really (a labyrinthine children’s birthday party, what a thought), where there are an almost-infinite number more truths to be uncovered. It’s a bind, alright, but the best class of bind, like feathered handcuffs.