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14 September 2008


Abbas Raza

Thanks for this post, Darcy. It is shockingly sad. So hard to believe...

Maeve Adams

"His writing was vivid, undeniable proof that you could be simultaneously erudite and accessible, experimental and addictively entertaining, structurally complex and heartrendingly sincere, high-minded and embracing of pop culture, and seriously fucking funny."

Darcy, that is a beautiful way to describe the rich, variegated style of his writing. So true. Thank you for this tribute.

Did you see the NYT piece? A little callous, I think. The headline alone is shameful.


Hi Maeve,

Thanks so much for your comments.

Did you mean the Timothy Williams obit? I actually linked to that in my original post, and didn't notice anything all that untoward about it, although admittedly there may be layers of snark to their use of the phrase "postmodern writer" that fly below my radar. I mean, sure, the characterization of his writing as: "a style variously described as 'pyrotechnic' and incomprehensible" misses the mark pretty badly, but I thought the quotes from his editor, Michael Pietsch, and Pomona's Kathleen Fitzpatrick were very telling, especially Kathleen's comments about irony:

β€œIt was ironic, but at the same time it was attempting to take emotional risk,” said Kathleen Fitzpatrick, chair of the media studies department at Pomona College, who knew Mr. Wallace. β€œA lot of contemporary literature uses irony as a self-protective gesture, but he never did that. He was like a lot of postmodern novelists, but braver.”
Amanda Marcotte

Everyone who's suffered depression fears just this, the return of that particular insanity.

David Brent Johnson

I just heard the news this afternoon and got the same feeling of despair that I had when I learned that Elliott Smith had killed himself several years ago. Thanks so much for your post, Darcy; I came here because I was pretty certain that you'd write something about him. He was so much more than a writer for a particular generation, but at the same time something about his voice and style really captured modern life in turn-of-the-century America.


Thanks for this tribute Darcy. I was always waiting for that next novel (if there ever was one). He was one of the few writers I constantly recommended and tried to find anything he'd written. I never really knew his personal story but this doesn't seem like the guy I saw at the Strand reading that day. He will be missed.


oh! i remember you from wallace-l even though i left it a long time ago... your blog post is now on page nth deep in the heart of google search results on dfw. i'm heartbroken about his death. his existence was part of my consciousness-- something i took for granted-- these years since IJ came out. i've been reading about it for days now and still find it hard to believe, impossible, and i want to say, unfair.

Anthony Wilson

hi darcy,
i always enjoy reading your diverse and fascinating blog, thanks for keeping the faith!

i too was devastated by the loss of DFW. my mother, a voracious reader, got "the broom of the system" when it was released. as soon as she finished reading it, she gave it to me with her highest recommendation. from then on, i was a huge fan of his. with "infinite jest" and on through the subsequent books of stories and essays, there was always something of virtuosity, ingenuity, substance, humor, heart, and soul in everything he wrote.

i recently listened to some of the old "bookworm" radio show interviews with him. they're over on the kcrw.com site. michael silverblatt is an extraordinary interviewer, and there is a beautiful intimacy to those chats.

take care!
your fan,

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