Monday, April 26, 2010

Best You Cannot Call Me a Liar

Just like I told you I would, I read "Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace" last week.

Not always as fascinating or as insightful as I had hoped it would be(*to be explained thoroughly soon) yet still a book no one with a strong curiosity about DFW could possibly pass up, AOCYEUBY consists of three parts (in this order): an introduction, a preface, an afterword, the interview, and an appendix re:the Cultural Products Mentioned in the book—not a bibliography of DFW works that come up during the interview, but a bit more color on every movie, book, and TV show mentioned during the interview.

The interview itself is the part that was sometimes not as insightful as I had hoped . . . but that goes without saying when basically what you have is a transcript of several days of conversation. So there's flavor throughout, but occasional lulls in the revelationpalooza one might hope for. But there's definitely some good stuff in there, especially re: DFW's own views of Infinite Jest, very handy information to have on hand if you're planning on rereading that monster soon (that's me I'm talking about).

The best part of the book proved to be the afterword, placed at the beginning of the book right after the preface, the reader is invited to read it whenever they see fit. I saw fit after I finished the book, it was the right time for me. In the afterward the author attempts to reconcile his DFW experience with Wallace's suicide and here the book is at its best, finally the author seems interesting (in the interview, eh, not so much) and, yeah, it all gets weightier and meatier . . . especially if you've read the whole interview already, I suppose.

Probably my favorite thing from this whole book was this reference in the Cultural Products Mentioned section regarding A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again (the essay I'm always plugging):

. . . when David turned it in to Harper's in 1995, his editor Colin Harrison remembers, "It was very clear to us that we had pure cocaine on our hands."

I've never read such a fine compliment, nor such an accurate description of what something was, in my entire life.


Noelle said...

What about "Consider the Lobster"?! You need to put that on your list too.

Brigham said...

Read it, so long ago. So, so long ago.