Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Publishers Lunch reports that there's a David Foster Wallace biography on the way:

"D.T. Max's biography of David Foster Wallace, about 'why he matters and
what he tried to teach us,' to Paul Slovak at Viking, at auction, by Elyse Cheney at Elyse Cheney Agency."

D.T. Max wrote the recent New Yorker article about Wallace. I thought the article was okay -- earnest, comprehensive, etc. -- but I also thought it was mostly "just the facts." I didn't get the deeper insights I was hoping for; I thought the earlier Rolling Stone article was more satisfying on that level (maybe that's because the author of the RS piece had actually met Wallace and spent time with him, whereas Max never met Wallace).

Anyway, I'm sure I'll still check it out.

UPDATE: So it looks like there were two DFW bio proposals circulating: one by Max, and another by David Lipsky, who wrote the above-mentioned RS article.

Per The New York Observer:

"The dueling book proposals were about as radically different in scope and intent as one could expect two biographies of the same guy to be. While Mr. Max, a former Observer reporter, aims to write a cradle-to-the-grave narrative about Wallace’s life and the historical-cultural backdrop against which he produced his work, Mr. Lipsky seems to have in mind something like a memoiristic sketch based almost entirely on a series of lengthy interviews he conducted with Wallace over the course of a week in 1996 for a Rolling Stone profile that ended up getting spiked.

According to Viking, the Max biography will be "a relatively short book" that will come out "no earlier than 2011."

UPDATE TO THE PREVIOUS UPDATE: Publishers Lunch reports (6/30) that the Lipsky book has sold as well. Brief NY Times report here.

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