Cult of DFW

Gordon Burn writes about Dave Eggers and the other writers involved in McSweeney’s and The Believer, characterizing them as a merry, talented, and somewhat infuriating band of celebrity authors guided by David Foster Wallace. Painting the crowd with a broad brush, he includes not only Dave Eggers, Vendela Vida, Heidi Julavits, Ben Marcus, Zadie Smith and Nick Hornby, but also George Saunders and Jonathan Lethem.

Wallace’s influence on the first five of these is undeniable. But I don’t think Burn makes the case that Hornby is a Wallace disciple. And he fails to note that the writers use The Wallace Influence to different effect — i.e., it actually really works for Zadie Smith.

I’m no great DFW fan, myself, although I have almost been convinced that I should try again. Related: last year’s Onion.


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