Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself by David Lipsky
A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace

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An indelible portrait of David Foster Wallace, by turns funny and inspiring, based on a five-day trip with award-winning writer David Lipsky during Wallace’s Infinite Jest tour
In David Lipsky’s view, David Foster Wallace was the best young writer in America. Wallace’s pieces for Harper’s magazine in the ’90s were, according to Lipsky, “like hearing for the first time the brain voice of everybody I knew: Here was how we all talked, experienced, thought. It was like smelling the damp in the air, seeing the first flash from a storm a mile away. You knew something gigantic was coming.”

Then Rolling Stone sent Lipsky to join Wallace on the last leg of his book tour for Infinite Jest, the novel that made him internationally famous. They lose to each other at chess. They get iced-in at an airport. They dash to Chicago to catch a make-up flight. They endure a terrible reader’s escort in Minneapolis. Wallace does a reading, a signing, an NPR appearance. Wallace gives in and imbibes titanic amounts of hotel television (what he calls an “orgy of spectation”). They fly back to Illinois, drive home, walk Wallace’s dogs. Amid these everyday events, Wallace tells Lipsky remarkable things—everything he can about his life, how he feels, what he thinks, what terrifies and fascinates and confounds him—in the writing voice Lipsky had come to love. Lipsky took notes, stopped envying him, and came to feel about him—that grateful, awake feeling—the same way he felt about Infinite Jest. Then Lipsky heads to the airport, and Wallace goes to a dance at a Baptist church.

A biography in five days, Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself is David Foster Wallace as few experienced this great American writer. Told in his own words, here is Wallace’s own story, and his astonishing, humane, alert way of looking at the world; here are stories of being a young writer—of being young generally—trying to knit together your ideas of who you should be and who other people expect you to be, and of being young in March of 1996. And of what it was like to be with and—as he tells it—what it was like to become David Foster Wallace.

"If you can think of times in your life that you’ve treated people with extraordinary decency and love, and pure uninterested concern, just because they were valuable as human beings. The ability to do that with ourselves.  To treat ourselves the way we would treat a really good, precious friend. Or a tiny child of ours that we absolutely loved more than life itself.  And I think it’s probably possible to achieve that.  I think part of the job we’re here for is to learn how to do it.  I know that sounds a little pious."
—David Foster Wallace

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About David Lipsky

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DAVID LIPSKY is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Magazine Writing, the New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, and many other publications. He contributes as an essayist to NPR's All Things Considered and is the recipient of a Lambert Fellowship, a Media Award from GLAAD, and a National Magazine Award. He's the author of the novel The Art Fair; a collection of stories, Three Thousand Dollars; and the bestselling nonfiction book Absolutely American, which was a Time magazine Best Book of the Year.
Published March 31, 2010 by Broadway Books. 354 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself

The New York Times

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Disappointed, Wallace shoots back: “You’re a tough room.” Lipsky is hurt in turn after they reach the house, when Wallace tells someone calling on the phone that he’s still with “this guy.” Lipsky wishes that he would have referred to him at least as the “Rolling Stone reporter.” Then, four pages...

May 28 2010 | Read Full Review of Although Of Course You End Up...


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In 1996, journalist David Lipsky went on a road trip with David Foster Wallace while the author promoted his book Infinite Jest. Fourteen years later, and more than a year after Wallace committed suicide, Lipsky has released Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, a collection of his co...

May 04 2010 | Read Full Review of Although Of Course You End Up...

The Globe and Mail

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The public appetite for anything about Wallace meant that Lipsky's notes from that five-day trip in 1996 metamorphosed into a Rolling Stone article entitled The Lost Years and Last Days of David Foster Wallace.

Apr 16 2010 | Read Full Review of Although Of Course You End Up...

Christian Science Monitor

The only thing that strikes me as more daunting than being inside the thought process of David Foster Wallace might be the experience of being inside the head of the person writing his biography.

Apr 13 2010 | Read Full Review of Although Of Course You End Up...

Only in "Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself," the cast includes David Foster Wallace as the literati heartthrob and David Lipsky as his reporting sidekick, and documents the tail end of Wallace's stumping after the publication of his 1996 masterpiece "Infinite Jest."

May 28 2010 | Read Full Review of Although Of Course You End Up...

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

AUTHOR WEBSITE: Wikipedia page on David Lipsky EXTRAS: Excerpt MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: Read our review of: Infinite Jestby David Foster Wallace The Pale King by David Foster Wallace

Jul 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Although Of Course You End Up...

Book Forum

When David Lipsky meets David Foster Wallace, it's 1996, Infinite Jest has just been released, and Wallace is the most famous literary writer in America.

Apr 07 2010 | Read Full Review of Although Of Course You End Up...

Arriving just 18 months after the man’s suicide, David Lipsky’s Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself leads the pack of posthumous books about David Foster Wallace, the prodigiously talented experimental American writer who hanged himself in his garage, following a renewed bout of depre...

May 25 2010 | Read Full Review of Although Of Course You End Up...

The Snipe News

In 1996, Rolling Stone sent reporter David Lipsky to interview David Foster Wallace.

Jul 02 2010 | Read Full Review of Although Of Course You End Up...

After reading 200 pages of Infinite Jest, Michael Pietsch, Wallace's editor at Little, Brown, told Wallace's agent, "I want to do this book more than I want to breathe.”.

Oct 15 2014 | Read Full Review of Although Of Course You End Up...

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