On Tuesday, the 21st of February, it would have been David Foster Wallace’s 50th birthday. I first read Infinite Jest back in 1997, and although I admit that I struggled through it initially, I loved it once I finished. It was witty, tragic, and so well-written. I would try to explain its basic plot, but whatever I say would not do it any justice. If you’ve read it, you know what I mean, if not… go read it. I have since read Broom of the System, which I loved, and Pale King, which I didn’t love so much. Regardless of my personal feeling about the last of the novel, however, there is no denying that this man had an incredible way with language, and an uncanny grasp of irony. He committed suicide in 2008 after a long struggle with depression, and needless to say, he is missed.
In celebration of his birthday, I wanted to share this video of Wallace discussing sadness, irony, and comedy in his writing. His gentleness and intellect shine clearly. Happy birthday, Mr. Wallace.
Also, take a look at this article by The Awl, “46 Things to Read and See for David Foster Wallace’s 50th Birthday.” Plenty of gems here.