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Conversations with David Foster Wallace

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  876 ratings  ·  90 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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4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  876 ratings  ·  90 reviews

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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
May 05, 2012 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 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
Mar 04, 2016 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 t ...more
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In un momento in cui leggere non mi va più, mi pesa e capisco di perdere consistenza, arriva la spiegazione che cercavo. "Leggere richiede solitudine e lunghi periodi di un tipo particolare di attenzione"

"Però ci sono parecchi libri che dopo averli letti mi hanno lasciato per sempre diverse da com'ero prima, e penso che tutta la buona letteratura in qualche modo affronti il problema della solitudine e agisca come un suo lenitivo. Siamo tutti tremendamente, tremendamente soli. Ma c'è qualcosa, qu
Ted Prokash
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For someone whose main interest is literary fiction, this stuff is like porn. I might as well review the new collection from Ass Enthusiast Weekly. Or whatever. Really interesting to get inside Wallace's head a bit, at least as far as his thoughts on writing. Though knowing how it all ends, you realize he's holding a lot back. An interviewer mentions D.F.W taking a couple years off from Amherst to drive a school bus as if it's a wacky, eccentric little side trip when in fact, you later realize, ...more
It mostly felt like a repetition -- I'd read at least a couple of these interviews before, and they didn't tell me much I didn't already know. Sure, there were some interesting stories, and I got at least one book recommendation out of it that I didn't have before, but this mostly felt like a recapitulation. Also, some of these interviews were pretty lousy -- local magazines emphasizing the relevance of the novel to that locality, that's some cringe right there. Pass.
Michael Perkins
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
According to the editor of this collection, this is the most important and comprehensive interview. I happened to find it online about a year ago and read it. One take away was how insecure and paranoid DFW was about readers not liking his work. He decided to do an odd thing, intentionally make some of his writing abstruse as a kind of advance punishment to the critical readers. The irony, of course, is that it feeds reader frustration.
Dann LaGratta
Jun 01, 2012 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.
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 i ...more
Oct 30, 2012 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.
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great compilation of interviews with David Foster Wallace. A beautiful final piece about his life and suicide. He is definitely one of my favourite authors and it makes me sad to think about how much he suffered.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
A collection of interviews given over the course of an author's career might not seem like the best way of getting to know them, but this book is surprisingly illuminating. Not only as a light biography, but also as an introduction to the ideas rolling around in Wallace's head.


"But there are a few books I have read that I’ve never been the same after, and I think all good writing somehow addresses the concern of and acts as an anodyne against loneliness. We’re all terribly,
Zooey Glass
Sep 24, 2013 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
Jul 24, 2014 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 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 som ...more
Apr 15, 2013 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 ro ...more
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...
May 30, 2012 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.

Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful introduction to the work of David Foster Wallace. Once you get to know the person, you will recognize his soul in all his works.
Nov 06, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Anche basta monetizzare il cadavere.
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Si alguien tiene el afán de escribir es imprescindible. Mejor que cualquier escuela de escritores
Maurizio Manco
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Scrivere è una specie di esibizionismo privato. E c’è pure una strana solitudine, e il desiderio di avere un qualche dialogo con la gente, ma senza la capacità vera di farlo di persona." (p. 128)
Pau Guillén
El llibre es salva per dos grans entrevistes i unes altres dos que són remarcables:

- Una entrevista ampliada con David Foster Wallace. Larry McCaffery 1993. La millor, la indispensable, 50 pàgines brutals!

- Hasta donde sabemos, esto es una entrevista con David Foster Wallace. Paulson 2004. La segona gran entrevista.

- The Connection: David Foster Wallace. Michael Goldfarb 2004. Sobretot bona per l'aspecte matemàtic de la formació wallaciana.

- Entrevista con David Foster Wallace. Didier Jacob 20
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-5-stars
This book was an excellent collection and told a solid narrative in chronological order. I think that after a while of fame, David began to have a handful of rehearsed lines and and go to phrases.

I especially enjoyed the interviews with the Boston Phoenix (RIP), including the 1998 interview with Tom Scocca. David's commentary on Good Will Hunting was a bit of departure from his usually "Lynchian" discourse:

"Last night I went and saw Good Will Hunting, which takes place not exactly where I used t
Clint Joseph
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is unsurprising, given how much I harp on enjoying this guy, so I won't belabor the point.

I could pretty much listen to this guy talk about whatever. The bonus of this book is that it is reprinted interviews from the major course of his career, 20 in all. So, what you get, as opposed to something like "Of course in the end..." by Lipsky, is that these have been edited, in many cases through a kind of email chat type deal that allowed Wallace to refine what he had to say, or clarify, or poi
Nov 28, 2016 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 i ...more
Lidia Calamia
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Si tratta di una raccolta d’interviste fatte a Wallace da giornalisti vari. L’ideale sarebbe leggere questo libro dopo aver almeno letto le opere più conosciute di questo grande autore statunitense, però sono interessanti le considerazioni fatte da David sulla letteratura. Sì, perché oltre ad essere un ottimo antidoto contro la solitudine, la letteratura è un’azione che deve scuotere chi è tranquillo e rasserenare chi vive nel tormento.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Questa è una recensione personalissima. Era da tempo che mi lamentavo di non trovare "bei libri", libri che mi smuovessero qualcosa, libri che potrei descrivere con le stesse parole che ha usato DFW (oddio, ha addirittura un acronimo) nelle sue interviste.
Non mi sarei mai aspettata di riuscire ad essere smossa dalla mia pseudo-apatia letterale da un testo di questo genere. E invece. L'ultimo brano. Mi ha straziata. Perché? Perché è sincero, realista, perché leggi tutte le interviste chiedendoti
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's always great to amble down hallways of conversations DFW had. I prefer the earlier interviews making up the first half of the book since they tend to have more to chew over, but the whole thing is worth a read.
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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 fe ...more
“Last night I went and saw Good Will Hunting, which takes place not exactly where I used to live, in Boston, but pretty darn close, so I've been all flush with nostalgia for it. I was in Boston from summer of '89 until spring of '92...

...I think it's the ultimate nerd fantasy movie. It's a bit of a fairy tale, but I enjoyed it a lot. Minnie Driver is really to fall sideways for. And there's all sorts of cool stuff. It's actually a movie that's got calculus in it. It takes place in Boston.”
“It’s got something to do with love. With having the discipline to talk out of the part of yourself that can love instead of the part that just wants to be loved.” 1 likes
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