Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself by David Lipsky is one of those books that contains a very historic and bittersweet quality to it. It’s the transcription of a five day interview author David Lipsky had with David Foster Wallace during the end of Wallace’s Infinite Jest book tour in 1996. While Mr. Lipsky was sent there on assignment from Rolling Stone, the article ultimately never was published and the tapes of the interview were boxed until David Foster Wallaces’ suicide in 2008.
What I Loved:
This book is basically a long conversation between these two men. It feels like being a fly on the wall as they get to know each other. I love the commentary that David Lipsky adds in periodically, adding some color or clarification to the scene. This book made me want to immediately run out and get Infinite Jest (I love when a book makes me want to read something else!). It is especially sad when they discuss Wallace’s earlier battles with depression, knowing that Wallace will ultimately lose the fight later on.
What I could do without:
The transcription is written verbatim, which gives a lot of character but also sometimes makes it very difficult to read. A little bit of editing that cut out things like some of the false starts could have still kept the essence of the character while improving readability. I also would have loved the book even more if David Lipksy had added even more commentary about what was going on and his thoughts and feelings about it.
The bottom line:
This book is a very interesting look into the mind of David Foster Walace. As someone who has never read a David Foster Walace novel, it made me want to go grab infinite Jest as soon as possible. Fans of David Foster Wallace, and bibliofiles in general, would probably find this novel very interesting.