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Download Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace Audiobook, by D. T. Max Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,073 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: D. T. Max Narrator: Malcolm Hillgartner Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2012 ISBN: 9781469214863
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David Foster Wallace was the leading literary light of his generation, a man who not only captivated readers with his prose but also mesmerized them with his brilliant mind. In this, the first biography of the writer, D. T. Max sets out to chart Wallace’s tormented, anguished, and often triumphant battle to succeed as a novelist as he fights off depression and addiction to emerge with his masterpiece, Infinite Jest.

Since his untimely death by suicide at the age of forty-six in 2008, Wallace has become more than the representative writer of his time—he has become a symbol of sincerity and honesty in an inauthentic age. His reputation and reach grow by the day. Max takes us from Wallace’s early years as a child of the 1970s in the Midwest to his hothouse success in his twenties and subsequent collapse into depression and drugs, and from there through his painful reemergence as an apostle of recovery, ending with his triumphant novel of addiction and redemption, the book of the decade, published when he was just thirty-three. But Infinite Jest itself left as an open question what should come next, as Wallace sought hopefully—and then, increasingly, helplessly—for a way forward, stymied even in the midst of the happiest personal time he had ever known.

Max guides us on this remarkable literary and spiritual journey, this prolonged exploration of what it means to be human. Wallace was coy with the press and very private, yet the concerns of his writing and the struggles of his life were always closely intertwined. In illuminating the life, Max enriches our understanding of the work. And in his skillful, active investigations into Wallace’s prose, he reveals the author in unexpected ways.

In the end, as Max argues, what is most important about Wallace is not just the words he left behind but what he taught us about life, showing that whatever the price, the fight to live meaningfully is always worth the struggle. Written with the cooperation of Wallace family members and friends and with access to hundreds of his unpublished letters, manuscripts, journals, and audio tapes, this deeply researched portrait of an extraordinarily gifted author is as fresh as news, as intimate as a letter from a friend, as painful as a goodbye.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “All readers, even those who know nothing of Wallace, will be moved by the portrayal of one man’s honest struggle with mental illness…[The book’s] poignancy is in its emphasis on Wallace’s years of hard-earned survival and his efforts, though unrealized, toward artistic transformation.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “In his revealing new biography, D. T. Max gives us a sympathetic portrayal of Wallace’s life and work, tracing the connections between the two, while mapping the wellsprings of his philosophical vision…What Mr. Max’s book does do—and does powerfully—is provide an emotionally detailed portrait of the artist as a young man.”

    New York Times

  • “A well-crafted, insightful chronicle of this singular writer’s life and literary work…Max’s biography succeeds on multiple levels: through his astute interpretations of Wallace’s literary output and liberal quotes from the writer himself, this book very much embodies the spirit and life of Wallace…For this reader, the biography provides a measure of solace—that if this great writer can’t be among us, at least he can be remembered in all of his genius and complexity.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “I’m having trouble remembering when I was last so consumed by any piece of writing, fiction or non…Max’s focus is, not surprisingly, more or less resolutely on Wallace’s life as it related to his art. This decision to strip the story down to its narrative essentials pays off in terms of compulsive readability…In providing a more complete sense of Wallace than we ever had while he lived, it makes his death feel more real, somehow more irrefutable. And, for anyone who felt a profound emotional connection to Wallace and his work, there’s a strenuously cathartic dimension to this: the experience of knowing him more fully, and of thereby feeling more completely the force and finality of his absence.”


  • “Max’s long-awaited bio, Every Love Story is a Ghost Story, helps us understand the man behind the words, and the mind behind the suicide…[Max] makes Wallace begin to cohere and become more approachable, more real…Necessary reading if you care about DFW or the cultural moment that shaped him and then felt his impact.”


  • “Documenting the life of a writer as revered and tormented as the late David Foster Wallace is a fraught task at best. D. T. Max has done an admirable job with Every Love Story is a Ghost Story…What emerges is a vivid portrait of an artist whose verbal brilliance was continually hampered, and ultimately silenced, by debilitating mental illness.”

    Boston Globe

  • “While Max appears to greatly admire Wallace as a writer and feel compassion for him as a man, he is never starry-eyed, or pulls his punches. Every Love Story is a Ghost Story is as illuminating, multifaceted, and serious an estimation of David Foster Wallace’s life and work as we can hope to find.”


  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • One of the 2012 Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books for Nonfiction
  • A 2012 Kansas City Star Top 100 Book for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Richard | 2/20/2014

    " I guess I was hoping for something more rigorous. Facts and life changes are just sort of thrown out there. There's no real analysis or thoughtfulness of the kind you get out of a good biography. It reads like a decent enough, well researched, magazine profile that's been squished under a rolling pin to stretch out to three hundred pages. There were elements that felt sort of trashy and airporty, as no random hookup or binge goes unreported. There's a "...and then guess what...and then guess what..." quality to it that dampens a lot of the poignancy and struggle of Wallace's life and creative efforts. In all honesty though, being a fan of Infinite Jest, and a lot of Wallace's other writing, and being curious to know more about the life of the author, I couldn't put it down. Still, it definitely wasn't a meal. Afterward, I got the same feeling you get after devouring a haul of halloween candy - a little guilty, a little sick, and not any wiser. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen Douglass | 2/18/2014

    " Go to my blog for today and I won't have to repeat myself. In summary, an important book for me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Billwilliams | 2/17/2014

    " I could not finish this book. It did not grab me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 William Scott Williams | 2/17/2014

    " A very sensitive and thoughtful treatment of DFW. I only wish it had had a better ending. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Austin Simpson | 2/9/2014

    " The most interesting, touching, and heart-breaking biography I've ever read "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Litchick | 1/23/2014

    " I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this book. It goes without saying that I'm a huge DFW fan, and have been anticipating this book for a few months. Usually I don't hold non-fiction to as high a standard as I do fiction, but I have to say that Max has this beautiful, narrative and sympathetic writing style that made this book a joy to read. It had this weird meta-quality that made the book feel like a novel, and as it ended I had the weird sensation of losing a close friend. I'm grateful for all the work Max put into this biography, which stands alone, by any standard, as a Great Book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jonathan McKay | 1/16/2014

    " Premature. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 1/12/2014

    " Hard to put down and achingly sad, this first biography of DFW sets a high bar for the others that will surely follow. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Worth | 1/7/2014

    " A compelling read even if it feels rather rushed post-IJ. Illuminating for sure, but probably not as heart-wrenching as Lipsky's or Franzen's postmortem articles--both of which you owe to yourself if you have any desire to read this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adam Krause | 12/27/2013

    " More about the work itself would be welcome in this page-turning bio, in addition to (not instead of) info on who Wallace boned at Yaddo. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 SandHouse | 12/15/2013

    " A poorly written book that felt somewhat voyouristic to me. I've only read *auto*biographies before. It was interesting and I'm glad I read it but it really was badly written. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rachel | 12/7/2013

    " Reads like an awful amalgam of sophomoric literary analysis and uncomfortable personal details. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Frig Morke | 8/14/2013

    " Very good, but you need to be a big fan to enjoy it I think. Luckily, I'm besmitten. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mats Sypriansen | 1/7/2013

    " inspired dread, awe & heartbreak in equal measure "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Anna Maria Ballester Bohn | 12/7/2012

    " Well. It made me re-buy Infinite Jest. And for some obscure and possibly sick reason, it made me want to write. But that's just me. Otherwise, I agree with other reviewers: no reason to read this book, really. It is quite bad. "

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About the Author
D. T. Max, a graduate of Harvard University, is a staff writer for The New Yorker. He is the author of The Family That Couldn’t Sleep: A Medical Mystery. He lives outside of New York City with his wife and two young children.
About the Narrator

Malcolm Hillgartner is an accomplished actor, writer, and musician. Named an AudioFile Best Voice of 2013 and the recipient of several Earphones Awards, he has narrated over 175 audiobooks.