Sunday, September 14, 2008


I have only ever read one piece by David Foster Wallace ("Roger Federer as Religious Experience"), but that was such a beautiful piece of writing about one of my favorite subjects (tennis) that I find myself deeply saddened by the news of his death by hanging on Friday.

My friend Ulrich Blumenbach is in the last stages of writing the German translation of Infinite Jest. How odd it must be to have the author of something you are translating die while you are doing so. (Perhaps like having the author you are writing criticism on die while you are writing the criticism, something that has also never happened to me.)

Perhaps I am struck as much by the deaths of Reginald Shepherd and DFW because they are both of my generation (DFW was 46; Reginald 44; and I am 44).


Anonymous said...

Thanks for that link -- I'm just a casual tennis devotee, but found it gripping reading nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

To stay within the pattern of your three-letter title: WTF?

This is horrible news. I don't even know what to say. I haven't read a lot of his work, either (not yet, anyway), but I very much enjoyed the pieces I did read.

Here's a single-paragraph story he published in "Esquire" in 2000. It's so short it fits on one page when you print it.
Incarnations of Burned Children

I wonder if he would have ever produced another tome like "Infinite Jest."

Susan Bernofsky said...

It breaks my heart to think of someone with that much talent deciding life had nothing more to offer him. And that Reginald had to leave against his will. And both of them so young.

Andrew Shields said...

It broke my heart to read how beautifully you phrased that, Susan.

Thanks for the link, René!