Both Flesh and Not by David Foster Wallace
been four years since the American novelist David Foster Wallace took his own
life at the age of 46. The Wallace industry has been busier since his death than
it ever was while he lived. In 2009 it gave us This is Water, a padded-out version of a graduation address he
delivered in 2005. His undergraduate Philosophy thesis was published in 2010.
In 2011 we had his big posthumous novel, the characteristically brilliant but annoying
The Pale King. D. T. Max’s biography,
Every Love Story is a Ghost Story, came
out earlier this year.
Now we have Both Flesh and Not, a compilation of
Wallace’s uncollected non-fiction. Mark that word “uncollected.” Wallace
published two books of essays during his lifetime: A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (1997) and Consider the Lobster (2005). The bulk of
this new book consists of early essays that Wallace chose not to reprint in
those volumes. In almost every case it isn’t hard to see why ... [read more]