Wallace Kept Up 'Debate Inside His Head'

Infinite Jest author was an 'astute observer' and 'prose magician'
By Laurel Jorgensen,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2008 7:42 PM CDT
David Foster Wallace, 46, was the author of Infinite Jest.    ((c) Steve Rhodes)
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(Newser) – David Foster Wallace was remembered today as a complex novelist who engaged in layer upon layer of self-examination. The author of Infinite Jest "wrote about the maddening impossibility of scrutinizing yourself without also scrutinizing yourself scrutinizing yourself and so on," Laura Miller writes in Salon. Wallace's suicide remains a mystery, "but any reader can see how his fiction had, in recent years, moved into greater darkness."

Much of his work “felt like outtakes from a continuing debate inside his head about the state of the world and the role of a writer in it,” Michiko Kakutani writes in the New York Times. David Ulin, who shared an agent with Wallace, writes in the Los Angeles Times that Wallace was “an astute observer, sharp and clear-eyed, idealistic and skeptical all at once… a humanist who could not help but see both sides of the story.”