© 2021 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Nation & World

Writer David Foster Wallace Found Dead

David Foster Wallace, author of the critically acclaimed 1996 novel Infinite Jest, was found dead in his Claremont, Calif., home on Friday.

Wallace's wife told police that he'd hanged himself. He was 46.

Wallace developed a cult following in the 1980s with his early works, but it was Infinite Jest that gained him widespread attention. The novel was set in the future, in an era of hyper-commercialism. It revolved around a fictional film that was so entertaining, anyone who watched it could die — because they wouldn't want to do anything but watch it.

Infinite Jest featured a massive cast of characters, sprawled across more than 1,000 pages. And there were hundreds of footnotes.

In 2005, Time magazine named Infinite Jest one of the 100 best English-language novels since 1923. But Wallace told PBS's Charlie Rose that he found the attention a little strange.

"I didn't read a lot of the reviews, but a lot of positive ones seemed to misunderstand the book. I wanted it to be extraordinarily sad and not postmodern or fractured, and most of the reviewers that really liked it seemed to like it because it was funny, or it was erudite, or it was interestingly fractured," Wallace said.

A year after Infinite Jest was published, the MacArthur Foundation awarded Wallace a "genius grant."

Wallace's later work included nonfiction, short-story collections and essays on filmmaker David Lynch, tennis star Roger Federer and Sen. John McCain.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.