Reading brings us to new heights of imaginations and soul searching. It journeys us through various walks of life, and opens our eyes beyond our own little world. We never really talk about it but the setting of where we read is actually quite important. The more hectic an environment is, the easier it is to be distracted and interrupted in the mind. Reading The Kite Runner on the beach will give you a completely different connection to the characters than, say, reading in a quiet cafe. Or at home. In a cozy little reading nook. I guess I’m trying to say that the setting in which I read DT Max’s Every Love Story is a Ghost Story helped me to get involved in the book with a deeper understanding. I was stranded on a beach with the hubby without any distraction except for all the island cliches. It’s apparently the very first official biography of David Foster Wallace. Not sure if you know or if you’ve read the guy but his literary wonder Infinite Jest has been sitting on my night stand since 2007… It’s over a 1000 pages long and I always come to a stop after the first few pages. Every year.
Moreover, when I heard that he had committed suicide shortly after my purchase, I became less enthused about reading it. Uncomfortable, you know? So when the biography was released not too long ago, I picked it up thinking that it would somehow help me to understand the background story of the author as well as what came about his life when he decided to write what would become such a renown classic.
I’m not a big fan of biographies. Somebody is born, something terrible happens unexpectedly, and then, bam!, through faith, hope, and persistence the obstacle is overcome… which leaves to a standing ovation for a humble bit of success story. Don’t get me wrong, they’re fabulous for leading such a difficult life etc. But it gets too predictable sometimes. Max does a wonderful job of getting right through the point. He doesn’t drag us through the little details of Wallace’s life but sort of skims through the general parts and focuses on the milestones only. Easy breezy. All of this in a thoughtful yet neutral tone.
Geniuses are always different. Their brains just function at a level that we can never grasp. They’re a bit unpredictable and hard to understand. I learned that Wallace’s suicide wasn’t a complete conscious decision. It doesn’t truly go into the very core of his depression, but it was the moment he got off his anti-depressants that he became more suicidal. It might have been his subconscious mind that led him to take his life. Either way, Wallace’s life was so dense with emotions, feelings, and relationships. So thick and intense. He was a great passionately devoted writer… somebody who wrote for the sake of his love for writing. And I’m so glad I came across his biography because now I think I’ll understand Wallace’s books better. If you’re interested in any of Wallace’s books, I highly recommend this one. Wish me luck with Infinite Jest!
dee’s rec: 4/5