The publication of Infinite Jest thrust brainy, neurotic Midwesterner David Foster Wallace into the rarified position of literary celebrity. The hype surrounding the book's debut never sat well with the author—he wryly noted that many of the raves he received were issued just days after the novel's release, nowhere near enough time to actually finish the 1,000-plus-page tome—and the subsequent swirl of media attention and expectations nagged at him until his untimely death in 2008, at the age of 46. In 1996, Rolling Stone sent reporter David Lipsky to tag along with Wallace on the last leg of the publicity tour for Infinite Jest. That article was never published, but Lipsky has turned the raw transcript—hours and hours of taped conversations in airports, restaurants, and even the Mall of America—into Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace (Broadway). The court-stenographer approach makes for an unfiltered, occasionally clunky format, one that winds up reading like the screenplay for a 10-hour-long My Dinner with Andre sequel. At its best moments, though, the book creates an incredibly detailed and fascinating snapshot of one of the great (post-)modern American authors at the absolute height of his abilities. Lipsky will be on hand at the library to discuss his book and his experiences traveling with a literary titan.
Thu., April 15, 7 p.m., 2010