A Moralist of Hope
Reading several appreciations of the late David Foster Wallace, I confess, with some embarrassment, to never having read him. A piece in today’s Boston Globe spurs me to rectify that omission. The author writes:
Wallace’s real subject is what he calls “a very modern and American type of ambivalence, a sort of interior war between your deep need to believe and your deep belief that the need to believe” is bogus, “that there’s nothing left anywhere but sales and salesmen.”
This is the crucial question of our historical moment: whether our citizens can rise above their doubts and anxieties and express a genuine idealism. And it’s the very reason we should mourn Wallace’s death. He was one of the few popular writers who threw himself into the maw of American life and challenged the reflexive cynicism he found there. He was a moralist of astonishing clarity and hope.
I would welcome suggestions as to where to begin my reading (somehow the 1,000 plus page novel seems daunting). I also welcome comments from those familiar with his work to share their take on it.