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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,671 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Lipsky Narrator: Danny Campbell, Mike Chamberlai Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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An indelible portrait of David Foster Wallace, by turns funny and inspiring, based on a five-day trip with award-winning writer David Lipsky during Wallace’s Infinite Jest tour 

In David Lipsky’s view, David Foster Wallace was the best young writer in America. Wallace’s pieces for Harper’s magazine in the 1990s were, according to Lipsky, “like hearing for the first time the brain voice of everybody I knew: Here was how we all talked, experienced, thought. It was like smelling the damp in the air, seeing the first flash from a storm a mile away. You knew something gigantic was coming.”

Then Rolling Stone sent Lipsky to join Wallace on the last leg of his book tour for Infinite Jest, the novel that made him internationally famous. They lose to each other at chess. They get iced-in at an airport. They dash to Chicago to catch a make-up flight. They endure a terrible reader’s escort in Minneapolis. Wallace does a reading, a signing, an NPR appearance. Wallace gives in and imbibes titanic amounts of hotel television (what he calls an “orgy of spectation”). They fly back to Illinois, drive home, walk Wallace’s dogs. Amid these everyday events, Wallace tells Lipsky remarkable things—everything he can about his life, how he feels, what he thinks, what terrifies and fascinates and confounds him—in the writing voice Lipsky had come to love. Lipsky took notes, stopped envying him, and came to feel about him—that grateful, awake feeling—the same way he felt about Infinite Jest. Then Lipsky heads to the airport, and Wallace goes to a dance at a Baptist church.

A biography in five days, Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself is David Foster Wallace as few experienced this great American writer. Told in his own words, here is Wallace’s own story, and his astonishing, humane, alert way of looking at the world; here are stories of being a young writer—of being young generally—trying to knit together your ideas of who you should be and who other people expect you to be, and of being young in March of 1996. And of what it was like to be with and—as he tells it—what it was like to become David Foster Wallace.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Insightful, silly, very funny, profound, surprising, and awfully human.”


  • “Crushingly poignant…Startlingly sad yet deeply funny…a startlingly sad yet deeply funny postscript to the career of one of the most interesting American writers of all time.”


  • “Lipsky’s transcript of their brilliant conversations reads like a two-man Tom Stoppard play or a four-handed duet scored for typewriter.”


  • “Exhilarating.”


  • “Insightful.”

    New Yorker

  • “Wallace’s aliveness is the most compelling part of this book. His humor, his pathos, his brilliant delivery—his tendency to explore the experience of living even as he’s living it—make this book sing. If art is a way of caring for others, Wallace cares for us through the novels, short stories, and essays he left behind. And Lipsky, in the wake of Wallace’s death, gives us a narrative that does the same.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Most of all, this book captures  Wallace’s mental energy, what his ex-girlfriend Mary Karr calls ‘wattage,’ which remains undimmed.”

    Time Out New York

  • “A trip into the mind of a writer who owned a dazzling style and a prescient view of modern culture.”

    Des Moines Register

  • “It is candid, intimate, personal, exploding with culture pop and otherwise.”

    Buffalo News

  • “A candid and fascinating glimpse into a uniquely brilliant and very troubled writer.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Many fans of Wallace’s writing come to think of him as a friend—by the time they have finished Lipsky’s moving book, they will undoubtedly feel that even more strongly.” 

    Library Journal

  • “A generous and refined work that will sustain Wallace’s masterful and innovative books long into the future.”


  • “We may never have a better record of what it sounded like to hear Wallace talk…Rolling Stone sent the right guy.”


  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jim Rybicki | 2/8/2014

    " I'm glad Lipsky published this. Along with the sections of Mary Karr's "Lit" about Wallace, they function as two parts of the triagulation of a signal. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Sheri Savill | 2/5/2014

    " This one is only for the hard-core DFW fan. You know who you are. I loved it. What a huge, huge, loss. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Brian Sawyer | 2/3/2014

    " The next best thing to actually being able to meet the man. I never knew him, but I miss him. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Mary | 1/30/2014

    " Reading this was kind of like one of those dreams where someone who has died is mysteriously alive again and you're talking to them and going, "it's so great, you were dead, but now I can talk to you..." and then you wake up. In this book, you wake up when Lipsky inserts a parenthetic post-script reflection on how some comments by DFW from their long conversations in 1996 relate to his sad ending in 2008. What shines through is not just DFW's supernova intellectual brilliance but also what a decent and funny guy he was - what I love most about his work. Lipsky himself is occasionally annoying (mostly the 1996 version of him, which the older version of him acknowledges)...this is mitigated by the fact that most of the book consists of their conversations, verbatim, with all DFW's aforementioned qualities. "

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