I was very saddened to find out this morning that one of my favorite writers, David Foster Wallace, had died on Friday. I suppose with all the hurricane/storm and election coverage over the weekend, I had somehow not heard. Truly shocking news, I hardly even know what to say.
He was a truly gifted writer, in every sense of the word, and I say that with no hesitation -- he was almost without contemporary equal. His reviews of Bryan A. Garner's "A Dictionary of Modern American Usage" and "Joseph Frank's Dostoevsky" are some of my all-time favorite pieces of writing. I loved his use of footnotes, his talent for word choice, his wit and humor. Both of these pieces are included in one of his collections of essays -- Consider the Lobster, which is an absolutely fantastic book. His breadth of subject matter is beyond admirable. If you don't typically read non-fiction, do not be put off by the "essay" tag, I HIGHLY recommend reading this, I cannot recommend it enough.
I am truly at a loss for words, I cannot explain how deeply inspired I was by his work and writing style, his fervor and passion for words, thoughts, commitment to ideals. This piece from Radar sums things up well for me:
Reading a great writer is to have someone articulate that which you had always thought but were unable to express. Reading DFW was that, sure, but also so much more: routinely his writing expressed what I didn't even know I had been thinking until after reading it. He conveyed the unnerving nebula of my subconscious, an often vague sense of sadness, of being overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of life, in all its splendor and despair, and the delight, exhaustion, and terror of trying to make sense of it all ... It takes a master of words to communicate so eloquently how words are inadequate to communicate. That, in essence, was David Foster Wallace. He will be greatly missed.
More on DFW:
"David Foster Wallace, Influential Writer, Dies at 46"
"An Appreciation: Exuberant Riffs on a Land Run Amok"
"AN APPRECIATION - David Foster Wallace: Idealistic skeptic"
"Remembering David Foster Wallace"
"His Head Pounded Like a Heart"