I read Infinite Jest last summer exclusively during my breaks at work. It took me three weeks and several re-starts and one library renewal to finish, but once I had slogged through to the end I felt the familiar twinge in my stomach: I knew that this book was going to be one of "those books" for me. His language play, his muddle of characters and time periods and content, and his often three-page-long run-on sentences were all difficult to get through, but as payoff the book made me reconsider where I wanted to head with my own writing. It encouraged me to take more risks with style, to think smarter, to try harder. In short, it made me want to be a better writer.
David Foster Wallace had the rare ability to impress and destroy and rebuild and entertain and touch, all in just one sentence. He was less a "writer" and more simply an artist, a builder of intricate webs of words and thoughts. He was one of the best voices of this generation, and I can only hope that other talented wordsmiths will take up his mantle in the years to come. Here's to a truly unique voice, a thousand perfectly penned pages, and a legacy of gut-punches. Rest easy, DFW.
"We're each deeply alone here. It's what we have in common, this aloneness."