David Foster Wallace’s final book is boring

Our own Morgan Meis in The Smart Set:

Untitled-1 David Foster Wallace's final book is boring. On that, everyone seems to agree. We understand, too, that Wallace intended it to be boring. In the years before he killed himself, David Foster Wallace was writing, after all, a long novel about the IRS. He hadn't finished the book when he died. So, we are left with the incomplete remnants of what he was still in the process of creating. But it is easy to see, in reading The Pale King, published from all the material that DFW was working on before his death, that he fully intended to write a book that would produce long stretches of boredom for the reader. He wanted to produce boredom, he wanted to reflect on boredom, and he wanted, finally, to love boredom.

The most important piece of writing to come out about David Foster Wallace in some time was written by Maria Bustillos for The Awl in early April of this year. Maria is an unabashed fan of David Foster Wallace and wrote a book (Dorkismo: The Macho of the Dork) that includes the chapter, “David Foster Wallace: The Dork Lord of American Letters.” Being both a writer and a fan, Bustillos wanted to know. After the suicide, she wanted to know. She wanted what many of us who admired the writer wanted: more of the man. She hoped, as we all hoped, that secrets would be revealed and that the secrets of the interior David Foster Wallace might also shed some light on his terrible, impressive, and depressing final act, the taking of his own life.

Maria Bustillos decided to go to the source. She had the strength to go to his papers and to read them. The papers exist. His books exist, too, the books from DFW's private library, many of which are heavily annotated. There are notes and jottings and lists and letters. It can all be found at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Maria Bustillos went there and she started to read, she started to look through all that material. What she found surprised her.

More here.

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