Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Review: Every Love Story is a Ghost Story

Author: D.T. Max
Title: Every Love Story is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace

Description: Max did not know Wallace, but he has used his writings and interviews with friends, relatives, and acquaintances to piece together this biography.   
Writing style: I would say this is a pretty even-handed treatment. Wallace’s deep depression and substance abuse—and later attempts at recovery—are dealt with frankly but not sensationally. The author mostly sticks to the facts he has unearthed and leaves speculation about Wallace’s motives or thoughts out of the book, as he should.
Audience: Anyone who is a fan of Wallace or interested in literature or biography. It’s also a pretty good portrait of someone who is trying desperately to live a full life while hampered by severe mental illness.
Major ideas: There’s a lot here about fiction as it was developing in the last three decades or so, and a lot about living with mental illness. Too much about either for me to try to encapsulate in a sentence.
Wrap-up: A well-done portrait of a true genius who left us too soon. 4/5*

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