Saturday, September 13, 2008

David Foster Wallace, Writer, Is Dead at 46

The news is that he hanged himself.

I never read Wallace's novels but I loved loved loved this essay he wrote for The Atlantic Monthly. Called "Host", it is essentially the profile of a right-wing radio host called John Ziegler. The great thing about it is that it's extensively footnoted -- with footnotes within footnotes within footnotes -- a beautifully constructed piece of non-linear reading that managed to be the profile of a man as well as an analysis of a phenomenon (right-wing talk shows). The Atlantic's website has a nicely formatted hyperlinked version of the essay but to see how it looked in the magazine itself -- and trust me, it's worth a look! -- click here. (It's a big pdf file - almost 11 MB).

Also read Jack Shafer of Slate raving about the essay.

UPDATE: Oh - and also here is Wallace on the phenomenon that is Roger Federer (this was, of course, before we knew that Federer is human after all).

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