David Foster Wallace was somehow able to crawl into the synapses of the American psyche.
And, terrifyingly, he was able to write about it. No one of his generation was more able to blend tenderness of heart, and the deep moral preoccupations and confusions of a nation, with such impeccable prose and philosophical insight—and just plain, raw humanity—than Wallace. He was, perhaps, the closest thing America has come in the last half-century to their own Dostoevsky. And before his young death at 46, if his publications are to be faithful signs, he was only getting better: Backbone, All That and Good People just to name a few (this last story, which also appears in The Pale King, is a story only Wallace could pull off).
Alas, what we have of Wallace is what we have, and though his work is certainly more sparse than we’d like, gratitude is the only proper response. Something, at least in this case, is infinitely better than nothing. But fans will be happy to know that Little, Brown Publishers has recently put together an audiobook, David Foster Wallace: In His Own Words, featuring nearly 9 hours of interviews and readings that Wallace gave over the course of his career. There are, as is to be expected in the internet age, some (though not all) recordings which can be downloaded for free with a simple web search. Nevertheless, it is nice to have the formatting perks of a proper audiobook.