The Essayist

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God wielded the buzzer

Christian Lorentzen reviews  Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace  by D.T. Max.

Three things: 1) look at the black lab in the pic below, enjoy it 2) I don’t want to be all ‘investing in the canon’ and shiz so this is the last DFW post for a while 3) the biography is a good one and you should buy it.

He was precocious and diligent but also capable of hideous behaviour, especially towards Amy, whom he taunted about her weight and once dragged across the lawn through dog shit. He apologised by giving her his bicycle. He was a melancholic from around the age of ten: ‘Summer 71 or 72,’ he wrote as an adult in a medical history, ‘First occasion of “Depressive, clinically anxious feelings”.’ Another later note on his adolescent self: ‘Feet too thin and narrow and toes oddly shaped, ankles too thin, calves not muscular enough; thighs squnch out repulsively when you sit down; pecker too small or if not too small in terms of shortness too small in terms of circumference.’ Yet, as Max writes, ‘his classmates remember him as cheerful, popular, funny.’ In high school he wrote in a tiny script to thwart cheating peers looking over his shoulder and would complete the full term’s reading and papers in its first weeks to leave more time for playing tennis.

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