Sunday, March 1, 2009

DFW's Footnoted Flesh

There's lots of fascinating stuff in this excellent D.T. Max article about David Foster Wallace, including the news that Wallace left behind an unfinished manuscript, which according to The Howling Fantods will be published by Little, Brown next year. It's apparently a heavily researched novel he'd been working on for more than ten years, about boredom and the IRS. "Good People" was evidently an excerpt from it.

But here's one touching detail about Wallace and his wife that I hadn't seen anywhere else, fitting for a writer who used footnotes so exuberantly to evoke the multilayered quality of human thought:

Wallace put a strikeout through Mary [Karr]’s name on his tattoo and an asterisk under the heart; farther down he added another asterisk and Karen [Green]’s name, turning his arm into a living footnote.

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