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Conversations with David Foster Wallace

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  684 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
Across two decades of intense creativity, David Foster Wallace (1962-2008) crafted a remarkable body of work that ranged from unclassifiable essays, to a book about transfinite mathematics, to vertiginous fictions. Whether through essay volumes (A Supposedly Fun Thing I ll Never Do Again, Consider the Lobster), short story collections (Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Intervi ...more
Paperback, 186 pages
Published March 8th 2012 by University Press of Mississippi (first published 2012)
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Franco  Santos
En el mundo real, todos sufrimos en soledad; la empatía verdadera es imposible. Pero si una obra de ficción nos permite de forma imaginaria identificarnos con el dolor de los personajes, entonces también podríamos concebir que otros se identificaran con el nuestro. Esto es reconfortante, liberador; hace que nos sintamos menos solos.

Parte del propósito de la narrativa consiste en agravar esa sensación de encierro y soledad y muerte, para inducir a la gente a afrontarla, puesto que cualquier posib
...more
Lee
May 09, 2012 Lee rated it really liked it
Repetitive and seemingly dated interviews, the gist of which you've read if you've read a few interviews with him. The repetition of semi-stock responses about his novels and themes sounds after a while like ad copy that's trying to "seduce you"/persuade you into accepting DFW perception technology that helps you see the world in a smart, funny, empathetic way, but one that after a while maybe seems to skew less on the side of true complexity than something always focused on gut-level sadness of ...more
Mientras Leo
May 01, 2016 Mientras Leo rated it it was amazing
Fantástica la experiencia lectora. Aprender de quien lee, descubrir nombres, visiones de libros ya leídos, reflexiones y recovecos de una de las grandes mentes lectoras y escritoras del siglo pasado.
Un verdadero placer.
Keenan Burke-Pitts
Jun 29, 2016 Keenan Burke-Pitts rated it it was amazing
I have been on a DFW binge for about a year now. He has sincerely enlightened me and has felt like a big brother and mentor all at once. I can't write well right now but he has inspired me to improve my communication skills. Reading DFW has stretched me intellectually, emotionally, & spiritually. I've lost family to mental health issues and struggled quietly with my own -- I think most of us do at one point or another if we are honest with ourselves -- and my soul aches just thinking about ...more
Dann LaGratta
Jun 09, 2012 Dann LaGratta rated it really liked it
This book is thoroughly enjoyable for the DFW nerd. The choice to make it chronological was brilliant and I enjoyed seeing how his view points changed throughout his life.

Do bear in mind though, that the articles inside were never meant to be read back-to back-to back, so sometimes the information became rather repetitive and kind of inspired an "enough already" vibe in this reader. This is a format issue though and due to the nature of this book series, really couldn't be avoided.

I do feel Mr.
...more
Moira Russell
It's amazing how many of these are puff pieces, and how short they are. Rather disappointed - a lot of these are transcripts of shows where there's a great deal of chatter about time remaining and Timely Topics. The somewhat gruesomely named Last Interview is coming out this December or something, maybe it'll be better. I think the intro said there are about seventy DFW interviews extant - beats me why they didn't transcribe some of the better long ones on UTU, like the fucking epic one that's ...more
Geoff
Oct 30, 2012 Geoff rated it liked it
The collection isn't revelatory as a whole, you've heard this stuff before, but damn it is a pleasure to revisit his voice. I especially like the frustrated and obviously annoyed but still aiming toward sincere reactions to that arrogant and rather dim French man Didier Jacob's questions. And the McCaffery interview is as essential as ever.
Zooey Glass
Oct 31, 2013 Zooey Glass rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Entro in un circolo vizioso in cui noto tutti gli aspetti per cui sono egocentrico, carrierista e non fedele ai principi e ai valori che trascendono i miei meschini interessi, e sento di non essere una persona buona. Ma poi considero il fatto che se non altro sto qui a preoccuparmene, a notare tutti i modi in cui vengo meno alla mia integrità, e mi dico che forse le persone che mancano totalmente di integrità non se ne accorgono o non se ne preoccupano; e a quel punto mi sento molto meglio con ...more
E. C. Koch
Feb 26, 2015 E. C. Koch rated it it was amazing
This was the second book of DFW interviews I read in short succession and I would say that this one was superior. It was fuller, more complete, the pieces were longer, and - unlike the last book I read - Conversations w/ DFW affords the reader the much needed context from which one can make sense of both the answers and the questions. Something I've noted before and will reiterate is that I don't think this book has much value unless you've already put in the time with everything he has written ...more
Kevin Johnson
Feb 24, 2015 Kevin Johnson rated it really liked it
Took this out of the library over a year ago and every so often I read a few interviews when I am on a DFW kick. Truthfully, I really enjoy reading him just go off. In half the interviews, his initial response hints that he is insulted/annoyed by how flat/insipid the questions are that have been put in front of him. Then something wonderful happens. It usually takes a few sentences, but as a reader you can feel the change in your nerve endings. He redirects the dull, open-ended question into ...more
Hobbes
Apr 19, 2013 Hobbes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Después de leer las entrevistas y el epílogo de este brillante libro uno empieza a entender cómo y por qué DFW escribió sus novelas, relatos, artículos y ensayos. El nivel intelectual que tenía Wallace era impresionante, pero además asombra su sencillez, perfeccionismo y honestidad reflejadas en cada entrevista. Pero también es un libro muy triste ya que vamos viendo, con el paso de los años, como la inteligencia de Wallace, que le permite tener consciencia de su mundo y de la realidad que lo ...more
Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo)
in una delle interviste DFW aveva detto che la scrittura dovrebbe essere un antidoto contro la solitudine, in effetti è quello che ho sperimentato quando ho letto Una Cosa divertente che non farò mai più: finalmente ho trovato una persona che pensa apertamente le stesse cose che penso io, non mi sono sentita più tanto strana per il semplice fatto di non condividere con nessuno dei miei amici l'avversione per le crociere e per gli spazi intasati di gente che si DEVE divertire a tutti i costi...
Danica
May 30, 2012 Danica rated it really liked it
For the first time in months, I have finished a book. According to my log, this is my 14th read book in 2012. We are almost at the midpoint of the year. At this rate, I am on track to have read roughly 30 books by the end of December.

For comparison's sake, I read 80 books in 2011, 80 books in 2010, and 50 books in 2009.

Christ.
Pedro
Mar 19, 2016 Pedro rated it it was amazing
Si alguien tiene el afán de escribir es imprescindible. Mejor que cualquier escuela de escritores
Tobias
Nov 28, 2016 Tobias rated it liked it
It is remarkable how bored DFW himself seemed with most of these conversations. A lot of the pieces included in this collection are just filler - I could have done without the various profiles published in print media outlets, in which DFW's voices is subsumed by the hack sent to interview him. The most meaningful pieces are the legendary interview with Larry McCaffery, and the final piece, a profile by David Lipsky (author of "although of course you end up becoming yourself," the ultimate DFW ...more
Edward S. Portman
Oct 12, 2013 Edward S. Portman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
È inevitabile, visto il breve lasso di tempo di pubblicazione qui in Italia di due libri per certi aspetti assai simili, fare un confronto fra questo Un antidoto contro la solitudine targato Minimum Fax e Di carne e di nulla edito da Einaudi. Così come è altrettanto inevitabile, dopo averli letti uno più o meno dopo l’altro, domandarsi quale tra i due sia il migliore. Quindi? La risposta? La risposta è senza dubbio l’antidoto contro la solitudine, in quanto più compatto, coerente, e prue più st ...more
Daniel
Jul 16, 2012 Daniel rated it really liked it
I agree with a previous review, that a lot of the things talked about in this anthology of interviews spanning the early 90s to the middle 00s does repeat itself in theme, but qualify that by suggesting this is not a bad thing given that DFW is interesting and is never interesting in exactly the same way when he answers questions.

As a previous reviewer did, here's a link to audio interviews he gave to KXRW throughout his career:

http://www.kcrw.com/sitesearch?Search...
Know these are as good as a
...more
Linda
Nov 04, 2013 Linda rated it really liked it
Since I can't read the books that DFW wrote, I decided to read ABOUT him. And, I will re-read this book because it is chock full of fabulous literary conversation. Interviewers, especially the guy from CONTEMPORARY LITERARY REVIEW, were prepared for him and he did not let them down. All said, my background is not rich enough in comparative literature nor the gift of discourse to really keep up. Modern literary conventions are matched with historical literary trends that come from the advantage ...more
Paola
Dec 31, 2014 Paola rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Intervista a "Salon" di Laura Miller
Domanda:
"In cosa consiste, secondo te, la magia che é propria della letteratura?"
Oh Signore, potrei stare qui tutto il giorno a parlarne! Be', il primo modo di approcciare la domanda é che il mondo reale è pieno di solitudine esistenziale. Io non so cosa stai pensando o cosa si prova a stare dentro la tua testa, e tu non sai cosa si prova a stare dentro la mia. Nella letteratura penso che in certo senso riusciamo a saltare oltre questo muro. Ma é solo un primo
...more
Don
Sep 21, 2015 Don rated it really liked it
A series of interviews of Wallace, dating from 1987, following publication of his Amherst English thesis as the well-received novel The Broom of the System, and concluding with a Wall Street Journal interview in 2008. The book concludes with David Lipsky's article in Rolling Stone shortly after Wallace's suicide in September 2008.

The book is a fascinating record of Wallace's development from a "boy wonder" writer just out of college, to his triumph as author of the extremely long and highly succ
...more
Justin de la Cruz
Nov 16, 2012 Justin de la Cruz rated it really liked it
A pretty neat collection of interviews. They're placed chronologically, so you can follow Wallace along as he talks about his books in order. They include a couple of transcribed radio interviews, an elongated version of Larry McCaffery's interview that appeared in The Review of Contemporary Fiction, a never-before-published interview with a French publication, and Wallace's final formal interview (which was with the Wall Street Journal).

It's fun to read about his inspirations, his guiding princ
...more
Michael Palkowski
Sep 24, 2012 Michael Palkowski rated it really liked it
The general vibe you incur when reading this book is one of sustained repetition and scrap book journalism and since many of the pieces are dated, it starts to wain and tire. I found many of the interviews moving and fascinating though and there is a real wealth of information, insight and intelligence with not only his nuanced and highly thought-out opinions but him as a person; Who for the most part is open and accessible about his own writing, influences and teaching. There is real ...more
Buckeye, The Poisonous Tree Nut
Rating: 4.5, based entirely upon the interviews by McCaffery and Lipsky. The first ("An Expanded Interview With David Foster Wallace") makes a person want to scrape the fake Cheeto nacho cheese from her fingers, delete all those reruns of Bones on the DVR and just be a better, thinking human being. The second ("The Lost Days and Last Years of David Foster Wallace") brings home the impact of his suicide. The first sentence of that essay, which refers to DFW in the past tense, is almost physically ...more
Joshua Buhs
Apr 26, 2013 Joshua Buhs rated it it was ok
I don't get the point of this book.
The introduction is sludgy academic-ese that adds very little to what one can discern from DFW's writings.
A lot of the Q&As included are incredibly lightweight--some hardly interviews at all. These are not only repetitive, the same anecdotes recurring again and again and again, but misleading. DFW was very self-conscious, but it's wrong to call him shy, as these interviews say ad nauseum.
Only three interviews stand out, 'Looking for a Garde of Which to be A
...more
BHodges
Apr 01, 2014 BHodges rated it really liked it
Like others have said, repetition muddies up the experience of this book as a complete book. However, I think some of the more in-depth individual pieces are strengthened by being surrounded by mundane quickies. You get to experience Wallace's own voice in a variety of interview contexts in which their chronological arrangement helps draw out Wallace's shifting views and shifting responsiveness during the sporadic promotion of his published works. The final biographical piece seemed somewhat out ...more
Sarah
Jan 09, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
This is a nice collection of articles, interviews and essays about David Foster Wallace's work, and DFW the person. It spans the length of his too-short career, from Broom of the System to Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. Wallace talks about the process of his writing, the purpose of Fiction and Fiction writing in America today, and how he has dealt with the literary fame he was receiving at the time.

The collection draws a fine portrait of the man and his work, but I was chagrined at the choi
...more
Claudia
Aug 11, 2014 Claudia rated it liked it
Shelves: essays
Useful though slightly uneven, as one would expect a collection like this to be. Some interviewers are better than others--news at 11.

I did get some names of authors or specific books I'd like to follow up on, on the "wonder what about that caught Wallace's attention" approach. I've found some good books that way in the past (Brian Moore's Catholics leaps to mind).

I'd already read a few of the interviews, but not all; there was a combined one, with him and Richard Powers that was unusual. It w
...more
Karl
Jul 01, 2016 Karl rated it liked it
I avoided this, and any book which would potentially give any information of Wallace's personal life, until now; learning too much about one's literary heroes is risky (though I've avoided reading anything about Plath and Wilde, it was impossible not to learn of their lives through cultural osmosis; Gaiman is one of the few writers I love that's actually had a decent, well-adjusted life, and is still alive). I was literally frightened to read the Lost Years and Last Days article that followed ...more
Simone Subliminalpop
TRE STELLE E MEZZA

Raccolta di interviste che spazia dal 1987 al 2005, quasi vent’anni di carriera letteraria, dall’esordio con “La scopa del sistema” fino all’uscita dell’ultima racconta di racconti “Oblio”.
Come già detto in parte per la sua biografia scritta da D.T. Max, un volume che farà la felicità degli estimatori di David Foster Wallace.
Lungo le pagine si forma uno strano effetto “eco”, in alcuni punti un po’ noioso, quando si tratta delle singole aperture di pezzo con veloce ripasso sulla
...more
Holly Ratcliff
Sep 01, 2016 Holly Ratcliff rated it it was amazing
The last article ripped out my heart and kept it.

For now, here are some of my favorite quotes from DFW:

“I’m a
typical American,” says Wallace. “Half of me is dying to give myself away,
and the other half is continually rebelling” (69).

“Take a look at some of the critical-theory
Ph.D. dissertations being written now. They’re like de Man and Foucault in
the mouth of a dull child. Academia and commercial culture have somehow
become these gigantic mechanisms of commodification that drain the
weight and c
...more
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David Foster Wallace worked surprising turns on nearly everything: novels, journalism, vacation. His life was an information hunt, collecting hows and whys. "I received 500,000 discrete bits of information today," he once said, "of which maybe 25 are important. My job is to make some sense of it." He wanted to write "stuff about what it feels like to live. Instead of being a relief from what it ...more
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