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David Foster Wallace: The Last Interview and Other Conversations

(The Last Interview)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  763 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Paperback, 128 pages
Published December 18th 2012 by Melville House (first published January 1st 2012)
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3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  763 ratings  ·  88 reviews


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Ailsa
Jan 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
"For me, art that's alive and urgent is art that's about what it is to be a human being."

A slim volume bringing together six interviews with David Foster Wallace from 1996 to 2008. My favourite is the first, 'Something Real American'. I'd recommend this compilation to fans of DFW rather than any casual reader unfamiliar with his work. My level of interest fluctuated considerably while reading but there are some nuggets that I had to write down to be able to come back to later.

On what is uniquely
...more
James Smith
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The irony is that, for me, David Foster Wallace interviews are The Entertainment. I could lose days in their plush, welcoming sincerity, even their tortured self-consciousness. He's like Garth Brooks--you know the aw-shucks-ism is an act, but it's the pose of someone who really wants to be humble and sincere and so you can't help but love him.
Proustitute
The latest in Melville House's Last Interview series, this collection compiles several interviews that David Foster Wallace gave—including the last before his death. I certainly make no claims to be a DFW expert, so I'm unsure whether these pieces are collected here for the first time or if they're just reprinted from other sources: the only information Melville House offers in the press release is that this is "a unique selection of [DFW's] best interviews."

For the DFW completist, here are the
...more
lit.erary.britt
Apr 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
"If it looks chaotic, good, but everything that's in there is in there on purpose." - DFW on Infinite Jest [SALON, 1996]

This small collection of interviews grants a glimpse into David Foster Wallace's writing, opinions, and personality. I look forward to diving into his short stories and essays once I'm finished with IJ.

I'm sad he's gone.
Justin Evans
Mar 09, 2013 rated it liked it
In which I learn that DFW must have been a total pain in the ass to interview, unless you were his buddy. Here's a condensed version of the book:

Q: Interesting question.
DFW: This isn't the right format to answer that, because I'd have to go into detail.
Q: What's your writing process like?
DFW: I don't really have one. [Note: when Eggers asks this question, DFW asks him to describe his (Eggers') process, then goes into some detail on his own].
Q: I really like your work.
DFW: I'm really boring.
...more
Benoit Lelièvre
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's been almost ten years since David Foster Wallace tragically took his own life and, well... I miss him.

I truly do. I miss having new material from him to read, whether it's fiction to break my brain to or non-fiction to expand my mind. So, I bought this book hoping to dull the ache of his absence and, I must say, it was utterly satisfying. These interviews are utterly simple and it's refreshing to read Wallace's word when he's not asked to reinvent the world by a fanboy interviewer. He's as
...more
Dan
Dec 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
DFW is a famous author. Over the last 20 years lots of people have interviewed him. This book collects 6 of those interviews, the earliest from 1996. It also includes, as you would expect from the title, his last interview from 1998 (about four months before his suicide).

This last interview is a short one discussing the release of McCain's Promise (in book form). While interesting to hear DFW talk politics, it was a bit of a letdown since it was so brief, and all too final. It's certainly not t
...more
Christopher
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very interesting, of course, but not strictly necessary. I like watching clips on YouTube of him more. The actual last interview with Wallace is a bit of a letdown, as it's very short and mostly about John McCain.
Hadrian
Dec 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Exactly what it says on the cover. Although I do recall reading most of these already, they're still good.
Cynthia Tolson
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This man had such a brilliant and fascinating mind. It is sad and incredible to think about what else he might have created.
Shivani Sharma
This. man. is. tedious. I could hardly make till the second interview. I thought I would take away something better but the second interview drained me so bad that I'm dropping this book here for now. The interviews have not been compiled properly, in my opinion. Or maybe they are compiled simply as they were, and the man himself made an absolute mess of them by making them sound like an extended babble. Anyway, too many books to read, too little time.
Ritinha
Selfish thought of the day: I can never forgive DFW for not staying around long enough for him to get to write about Trump as POTUS.
Brian DiMattia
Feb 04, 2013 rated it liked it
An interesting idea for a series of books. On the one hand, it looks like they might be part of the increasingly dark "let's cash in on the tragic death of a famous author" mini-industry that's sprung up around David Foster Wallace's memory. When you look at it closer, it's actually a series of interviews, each taking place near the time of one of his books being published, or having some other connection to a biography of his writing life.

(In other words, only the title is blatantly opportunist
...more
Tomas Psorn
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book is everything but complex, anyway, it reveals little by little a tiny piece of Mr. Wallace's inner picture, which complex works might fail to deliver. It reveals incredible stories (like a bag of pot for a bus driver), as well as it brings a unique point of view on many things just by the way. Also, the interview format, which appears quite raw after a while, helps here. It exposes his thinking in a different way than his polished, edited, many times rewritten work. Even if he fully und ...more
Skyler
Nov 22, 2018 rated it liked it
It's interesting to hear DFW in these interviews. I found about 1/3 of them to be really interesting. The others, not so much. I think the best part of these interviews is not that it's a peek inside DFW's mind, which, if you think this book's is going to provide, it may only a little, but rather the book recommendations and when Wallace rambles off what it is he's reading, or what his 'influences' are.
AJ Torres
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
This is not a review.

"I've done some book reviews, it's difficult to do. In my opinion it's far more difficult to write a review of something that you don't like because if you're a fiction writer you know how hard you work even on something really crummy to somebody else."

David Foster Wallace went beneath my skin. It feels ironic to even attempt a book review for these interviews; DFW made it very clear on how he feels about reviewing. I'm not certain if those were even his feelings or just the
...more
Jon
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
I highlighted many sections in this book, including these parts about sadness:

"The sadness that the book [Infinite Jest] is about, and that I was going through, was a real American type of sadness. I was white, upper-middle-class, obscenely well-educated, had had way more career success than I could have legitimately hoped for and was sort of adrift.

A lot of my friends were the same way. Some of them were deeply into drugs, others were unbelievable workaholics. Some were going to singles bars e
...more
Andrew
A slender volume of interviews, at least one of which I'd definitely read before. Almost a classic example of a "completists only" book. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy the interviews, I did, and I got some book recommendations out of them, but that's about it. If a copy comes your way, feel free to pick it up, it's distracting, but definitely not worth going out and buying, especially when they'll charge ya 15 bucks for 100 pages -- although it's nowhere near as exorbitant as the publishing indus ...more
Tom Dolan
May 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: dfw, biography
Disappointing or confusing. I labored under the delusion that this whole book was a big interview -- it's not. It's collected interviews (most of which I already have or have read) and the unpublished "last" interview is a page and half or so. Oh well. Added to the DFW stack.
Jamie Cattanach
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic insight into one of my favorite writers and people, who speaks at length here about how to best be a writer (or a people) in the twenty-first century. Couldn't put it down.

So sad we lost him.
John
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Mixed up things. Some of it are really boring.But our DFW-guy ain't give no shit, coz Everything about him is a gift.
Andrea Marzocchi
“Some platitudes are kind of deep. For me, art that’s alive and urgent is art that’s about what it is to be a human being. And whether one is a human being in times of enormous profundity and depth and challenge, or one is trying to be a human being in times of what appears to be shallow and commercial and materialistic, really isn’t all that relevant to the deeper picture - I’m sorry, to the deeper project. The deeper project is: what is it to be human?”

I always thought David Forster Wallace wa
...more
Wendy Liu
Of the six interviews, four of them are also found in Conversations with David Foster Wallace; the only two new ones are the one with Dave Eggers and the one with Stacey Schmediel, neither of which really stands out compared to his more famous interviews.

This book is probably only worth getting if, like me, you're obsessively trying to complete your personal collection of books by and on David Foster Wallace. Otherwise, I would suggest Conversations with David Foster Wallace instead.
Isa
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Still relevant:

"It is when one feels most strongly, most personally, that it’s most tempting to speak up (“speak out” is the current verb phrase of choice, rhetorically freighted as it is). But it’s also when it’s the least productive, or at any rate it seems that way to me—there are plenty of writers and journalists “speaking out” and writing pieces about oligarchy and neofascism and mendacity and appalling short-sightedness in definitions of “national security” and “national interest,” etc., a
...more
Joe
Jun 09, 2017 rated it liked it
a few short interviews, some of which do not ask anything interesting. you can feel DFW struggling to answer some questions while remaining polite. There are a couple of interesting sections though, and you get a better feel for what the author was like outside of his narrator persona. It's short enough that if you are a fan, you should read this. if not, you probably wouldn't want to read it anyway.
JuneAutumn
Ein paar richtig geniale Sachen, aber manche Interviewer waren wirklich schlecht, und das merkt man DFW auch an. Dennoch bin ich immer wieder verliebt in die Klugheit dieses Menschen...
Travis
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
A humility comes through in his interviews that is harder to see in his writing. Made me like him more as a dude.
Laurann
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
💔 What can I say that won't sound hollow? This was great. He was great. I wish he was still here. The last sentence got me. 🙂😢
tisasday
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm convinced, infinite jest.
Doug Weidensaul
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Peer into the mind, into the mind, into the mind...
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7,906 followers
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

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“The people I know who are rebelling meaningfully, you know, don't buy a lot of stuff and don't get their view of the world from television and are willing to spend four, five hours researching an election rather than commercials. The thing about it is that in America, we think of rebellion as this very sexy thing and that it involves action and force and looks good. My guess is that any form of rebellion that will change things meaningfully here will be very quiet and very individual and probably not all that interesting to look at from the outside...Violence is interesting. Horrible corruption and scandals and rattling sabers and talking about war and demonizing a billion people of a different faith in the world—those are all interesting. Sitting in a chair and really thinking about what this all means and why the fact that what I drive might have something to do with how people in other parts of the world think about me isn't interesting to anybody else.” 3 likes
“I've always thought of myself as a realist. I can remember fighting with my professors about it in grad school. The world that I live in consists of 250 advertisements a day and any number of unbelievably entertaining options, most of which are subsidized by corporations that want to sell me things. The whole way that the world acts on my nerve endings is bound up with stuff that the guys with the leather patches on their elbows would consider pop or trivial or ephemeral. I use a fair amount of pop stuff in my fiction, but what I mean by it is nothing different than what other people mean in writing about trees and parks and having to walk to the river to get water 100 years ago. It's just the texture of the world I live in.” 2 likes
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