Sunday, February 9, 2014

Top Shelf Short Stories: Death is Not the End

Death is Not the End
by David Foster Wallace

(I am a day late omg but I swear to you, reader, I read this story yesterday, but I was too busy out and about and doing stuff and eating that I forgot to post this so please forgive me.)

I have not read any David Foster Wallace work. I wanted to start with Infinite Jest, that mammoth of a work, but I knew that Wallace had a plethora of short stories, so I thought - why not?

It takes awhile to get used to the author's writing. I will say that. But once I did (especially the footnotes - I haven't read those since my history classes), I could understand (kinda) where he was going (I think).

This is what reading David Foster Wallace did to me. Talking in parentheses.

Anyway, just like Kafka, I had to Google the meaning to this story - just in case I missed something? But it turns out that I didn't (I think). This story is about a writer who has done all the things - he's won awards, he's renowned and he can basically afford to hang around the house doing his thing. Which is exactly what he's doing during this story. And that's all he does. Wallace is basically letting the reader be a fly on the wall allowing us to watch this author be a person. I believe that the whole point of this story is showing us that although a person may have all these accolades, at the base of it - a person is just a person.

The tricky part is understanding the title. "Death is Not the End" - is it because he's a writer and what he writes will most likely survive after he "ends"? Is it because the author is a has-been and he technically "died" a long time ago? I'm not sure and I don't think Wallace cared to share the meaning. (if he did, please link down below)


Wallace's writing is definitely not for everyone. I don't even know if it's for me, but it's intrigued me enough to keep reading until I'm completely turned off. So, try it if you're feeling adventurous and equal parts patient. 

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