The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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True/Slant and WSJ on Lipsky Book

First a piece from Michael Humprhey over at True/Slant, Why David Foster Wallace’s afterlife is going so well, after Laura Miller's article yesterday.
The Wall Street Journal Speakeasy blog's Steven Kurutz writes about the literary gossip in David Lipsky's book, Reading the New David Foster Wallace Bio For (Backdated) Literary Gossip.

Salon on Lipsky's DFW Book

Laura Miller's piece Road trip with David Foster Wallace over at offers a positive review of David Lipsky's soon to be released book.
(Beware the comments thread over there though...)
Update: Top job, metasailor.
If you've yet to read it, check out our Q&A with David Lipsky, and don't forget you can win a copy of his book by entering the competition! Entries close April 7th.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 April 2010 19:02

Wallace-l Interview with David Lipsky

A magnificent group interview with David Lipsky about his new book (and many other things) was just posted to wallace-l (the David Foster Wallace mailing list) and Matt Bucher's website. David Lipsky answers a number of challenging and insightful questions from long time David Foster Wallace readers. I'm not going to post any snippets here, just go and read it, knowing that the answer to David Hering's question reveals one of a few stunning moments from Lipsky's book - I was left with my jaw literally hanging open after I read that passage a month or so ago.
Big shout out to some of the people who got questions or mentions in the interview, Maria Bustillos, Marie Mundaca, David Hering (Liverpool DFW conference organiser who presented the paper Dreams Within Dreams: Wallace, Lynch, Oblivions at the NY Footnotes conference), George Carr (currently coordinating the Westward read at wallace-l), and most of all Matt Bucher, wallace-l owner, who organised it all.
Last Updated on Friday, 02 April 2010 14:12

Hipster Book Club Review of Lipsky Book

What most readers will get from the book is how funny Wallace could be. Most of his writing, especially the nonfiction work, was humorous, but that was overshadowed by the vocabulary and the long sentences. But as a regular guy talking, Wallace was hilarious. For example, when the clerk at a hotel says to Lipsky, “And you have a room with twins,” Wallace says, “Yes, Anita and Consuela.” Or riffing on the illustrations on an airplane’s safety guide, he says, “ ‘How interesting. An oxygen mask has dropped down.’ Look, her eyes are totally unafraid. ‘I think I’ll put it on. Why—no. I’ll put one on my child.’”
Order it at

Infinite Jest for Apple Devices

Those of you with an iPhone (or any of the other compatible Apple devices) might be interested in this e-book version of Infinite Jest. I have to admit USD $17.99 seems a little on the expensive side (particularly so after having read Chris Anderson's The Long Tail and Free).
Somewhat entertaining is the content advisory over at the itunes preview page for the e-book - Rated 12+ for the following: Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content or Nudity, Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes, Infrequent/Mild Horror/Fear Themes, Frequent/Intense Profanity or Crude Humor, Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References, Infrequent/Mild Realistic Violence.
From the press release:
(NEW YORK, NY—April 1, 2010)  Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, announced today that it will release a first-of-its-kind, enriched e-book for David Foster Wallace’s epic novel INFINITE JEST. INFINITE JEST was originally published in 1996 by Little, Brown and became an essential novel that not only changed the landscape of contemporary fiction, but directly influenced many of the most interesting and popular writers working today. 
In addition to Wallace’s stunning writing and mind-altering plotlines, INFINITE JEST is also known for Wallace’s robust use of endnotes. The novel’s main story is accompanied by nearly one hundred pages of notes in a tiny font.  This new stand-alone app will make reading the novel a more fluid experience. Readers can utilize the enriched note capability—just tap the note number when it appears and the note will open in a new window. Tap again to close. Other features to enhance the reader’s experience are the ability to search through the text, endnotes included, and to create one’s own notes and bookmarks.  Please see the app here.
Little, Brown and Hachette Digital collaborated on this project to deliver an exciting new reading experience. Maja Thomas, senior vice president of Hachette Digital, says: “This is the beauty of bookmaking in the digital age.  Not only will readers of the ebook be spared lugging two and a half pounds of paper with them everywhere they go, they will also be able to toggle seamlessly between Wallace’s main narrative and his amazing notes without flipping back and forth between bookmarks and searching for their place on the page.  We hope this app brings new readers to INFINITE JEST and leaves the reader free to focus on the rewards of David Foster Wallace’s masterpiece.”  
Last Updated on Friday, 02 April 2010 04:17

Fantods Q&A with David Lipsky

David Lipsky has been kind enough to take part in a little Q&A with The Howling Fantods about his fantastic new book, Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself : A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace. David spent five days with David Foster Wallace in 1996 recording almost every moment on tape for a Rolling Stone article that never ran. The book documents those five days. It is DFW speaking about DFW, at length, and it's great.


Nick Maniatis: The first few days of your time with Wallace played out like a competitive conversation—positioning, sidestepping, repositioning. I particularly enjoyed moments when you questioned Wallace about his interview persona. Had you planned to challenge him that way? He seemed surprised that you would even go there.

David Lipsky: In the beginning, just being around David was rattling, the kind of thrill that makes you drop stuff. If you’re reporting, there’s lots of administrative stuff you can do—busy work: opening tapes, flipping your notebook—to make yourself look capable and occupied when actually your heart is rhumbaing and the real feeling is being desperate to be liked.  That’s where I was the first day or so: I knew how great a writer David was. Now here was this extraordinary thing of his being suddenly in front of me. How had that happened? 

And there’s the funny thing of reading somebody a lot—you can’t really get any closer to another person. That’s the great lure of reading, the intimacy, the brain vacation. David says something great about this in the book: “It’s really feeling, that their brain voice for a while becomes your brain voice. The Vulcan Mind Meld perhaps is a better analogy. [Readers] feel intimate with you... not just that you’d be somebody it’d be great to be friends with, but that they are your friend.” And that’s how I felt. And the first day, he wasn’t that brain voice I’d been Vulcaning with.  He was talking about hoping to get laid on book tour (which didn’t sound like him at all), he seemed to be holding back on how brilliant he was—he was like an NBA center crouching and shrugging to fit into a junior high’s varsity photo.  Which, if you thought about it, was kind of a challenge: was the listener going to not notice his skills and height?  So I would point that out. David keeps saying things like, “This is a good tactic of yours, to get me a little pissed off, and then I’m going to reveal more, I’ll be less guarded.”  But it was more me just trying to keep up and hang on.

[Continued after the jump]

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 March 2010 11:02

Pop Matters Review of Lipsky Book

Andrew Shaffer writes:
Could the book have worked a little better as a proper biography of Wallace, with the interview cut up? That was my first thought when I started reading it. But it’s clear that Lipsky and his editor made the right choice: Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself is an intimate portrait told mostly in Wallace’s own words. It’s as close to an autobiography as we’ll ever get, and it deserves a spot on the bookshelf of every David Foster Wallace fan.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 18:58

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