Monday, September 15, 2008

David Foster Wallace 1962-2008



David Foster Wallace Found Dead At 46

His wife told Claremont police that the novelist and humorist who wrote 'Infinite Jest' hanged himself Friday night.

Unbelievable.

14 comments:

cube said...

No "Infinite Jest" fans out there?

WomanHonorThyself said...

sad..may he rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

I have not read, no doubt to my own loss, "Infinite Jest" and don't really know anything about the author other then what is being reported at various locations. Did David work and travel with John McCain? I seem to remember some connection. I am possibly wrong.

Still I am struck and deeply saddened. One, because it reminds me of my twin who took his life also, many years ago, at the age of 37. Two, clearly by the accolades I read, he was a gifted writer with much promise and much to offer to enrich others and through that, his own continuing life. Third, and perhaps the harshest is knowing that such a gifted individual, among so many others today, are becoming so evidently disillusioned and depressed that they would end their own life. This even though there are those around, at least evidently in this young mans life, who loved and greatly admired him. I don't know, and I can't quite express my reason for thinking so in words of understanding, but I feel and I am convinced, that when this happens to those who are well known such as David, or to one who is not and passes in obscurity that we, all of us, die a little as well and the fabric of society as a whole perhaps imperceptibility unravels a little bit more because a tear that might have been mended, was not.

Sad, so very sad.

bw

cube said...

woman: It is sad to see so much
potential lost to the world.

bw: At 1097 pages, "Infinite Jest" is a monstrously complex novel. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone, but I certainly enjoyed it. While reading it, I often thought that if I were to write a book, I would want it to be a book like "Infinite Jest".

Yes, Wallace did cover the 2000 McCain campaign for Rolling Stone & the essays were recently released in book form. I've not read it.

I can't imagine how difficult it must be to deal with the suicide of a loved one, especially a twin.
I hope I never do. It must be awful to think of the despair that would drive a human being to end their life.

BTW Wallace dealt with suicide extensively in "IJ". The main protagonists, the 3 Incandenza brothers, deal with the suicide of their father (the circumstances of said suicide were pretty horrific)

It's sad to think of the demons he must have had in his head. Very sad.

I wonder if Wallace left a suicide note?

Les said...

I just started reading "A supposedly fun thing I'll never do again" for the third time on Friday. When I found out I was speechless.

Anonymous said...

Cube,

I recall Infinite Jest laying about your recommended reading list, thought about it and left it in the maybe someday category!

His death is sad, yet infuriating too. I have long felt that suicide is too casually embraced by the wrong people and infrequently by the right ones!

The Bushido ethic of Sepaku (not sure of the spelling but since it is translated from Japanese characters how wrong can it be?) to atone for dishonor or disgrace should be more widely embraced IMHO.

The CEO types who ruin companies, horrific criminals, murderers and anyone else who commit grave wrongs should consider suicide as the only meaningful way to prove they are contrite and understand the magnitude of their monstrosity.

It would go a long way to re-establishing honor in our society in my view.

Sadly, some people find themselves in hopeless physical condition and choose to spare themselves and their loved ones the agony of suffering and possible impoverishment of a long illness.

Both subjects bring up ethical questions and the essence of God's will.

The most distressing cases are those who casually embrace suicide, indifferent to those left behind who love and will forever miss them. The selfishness of some of those who end their own lives can cause unending pain for the people who love them.

I don't know where this man was in this spectrum but he is sorely missed.

That alone suggests he might have looked further for solace than a noose.

QueeQueg

cube said...

les: I was shocked as well. I haven't read "A supposedly fun thing I'll never do again" even once. Maybe now I will look up Wallace's other work.

cube said...

QQ: So true. Why does it seem like we keep losing the gifted people while the slime keeps on living?

You also touched on what looks like selfishness to those around the suicidee, but which may be the result of so much anguish that they don't care how much it may pain their loved ones. They only want the peace they think ending their lives will bring. Too bad Wallace didn't address his mental problems earlier.

EDGE said...

That's tough.

Jocelyn said...

may he rest in peace.

and thanks for dropping by my blog =)

Ananda girl said...

I know this is an older post, but I am compelled to respond to the subject of suicide, free will, God, etc.

Here is my titanium in my head opinion that will never change. God gave us free will as a test. We have no right to remove that free will by making laws etc. to forbid us to take our own live, etc. I understand why we do it, but we don't have that right.

People who suffer to the point of suicide are in horrific pain and I can only pray that their suffering has ended and God has judged them and accepted them into his much better place. I do not consider it a mortal sin. People I love dearly have taken this route and I say thank you that the pain is over. That it causes me a fraction of the pain that took them to this point is nothing. I accept it willingly.

One final word. Socially, we kill these people with our biases and prejudices against those with serious mental illness. We make it hard to stay here. Hard to get treatment and to maintain normal life once it is known that one is under treatment.

I think even God Himself cries when suicide is the way someone dies.

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