Monday, September 15, 2008

Slap Hitter: Infinite Loss, David Foster Wallace dead at 46

Mon, Sep 15, 2008 at 2:38 PM

The death of David Foster Wallace is a blow to literature, the triumph of the human spirit and tennis. Wallace who wrote about infinity (really) and beyond was an observer and player of sport. His death will resonate far, and it may take a while before it gets to sports, but for the thinking fan, DFW was a sneaky Most Valuable Sayer.

The death of David Foster Wallace is a blow to literature, the triumph of the human spirit and tennis. Wallace who wrote about infinity (really) and beyond was an observer and player of sport.

Tennis formed the spine of his major work, Infinite Jest, a 1000-page turner about addiction, family and the lob shot. His fiction and non-fiction often returned to the courts where he grew up. An essay in his collection, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. is a gem. It is nostalgic without being elegaic, and it puts the grit of the wind blowing on the courts of Wallace's youth in between your teeth.

His suicide last weekend robs the world of one of its wittiest and tortured thinkers. He wrote winningly about football, lobsters, politics and porn. It is beyond sad to imagine that fans will have no more of his work to look forward to, but it is a small comfort to know that the writings he did will live on. Old newspaper guys used to end their stories with the number -30- and sportswriter Grantland Rice often spoke of the "Great Scorer in the Sky". Wallace would never have been cheesy enough to use either, but his heart was big enough to accept sincere, uncool affection, possibly even toward himself. Put this one the board as "30-Love". R.I.P. DFW, Game, set and match.— Kibby Kleiman

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