His first novel, “The Broom of the System,” published in 1987, tells of a young woman who worries that she might exist only as a character in a story.
The book suggests that the world should not be taken too seriously: life is an intellectual game, and words are the pieces on the board.
For many months, Wallace had been in a deep depression.
The condition had first been diagnosed when he was an undergraduate at Amherst College, in the early eighties; ever since, he had taken medication to manage its symptoms.
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In the interview with Mc Caffery, he said, “It seems like the big distinction between good art and so-so art lies . Even now I’m scared about how sappy this’ll look in print, saying this.
And the effort to actually to do it, not just talk about it, requires a kind of courage I don’t seem to have yet.” He also said, “All the attention and engagement and work you need to get from the reader can’t be for your benefit; it’s got to be for hers.”One of the great pleasures in reading Wallace is to watch him struggle to give the reader her due.
Wallace, at least, never felt that he had hit his target.His goal had been to show readers how to live a fulfilled, meaningful life.“Fiction’s about what it is to be a fucking human being,” he once said.He conjured the world in two-hundred-word sentences that mixed formal diction and street slang, technicalese and plain speech; his prose slid forward with a controlled lack of control that mimed thought itself.“What goes on inside is just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of at most one tiny little part of it at any given instant,” he wrote in “Good Old Neon,” a story from 2001.