Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story by D. T. Max
A Life of David Foster Wallace

81%

21 Critic Reviews

In writing a chronologically narrated, thoroughly researched, objective-as-­imaginable biography, Max has created a page turner.
-NY Times

Synopsis

The acclaimed New York Times–bestselling biography and “emotionally detailed portrait of the artist as a young man” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)

Since his untimely death by suicide at the age of forty-six in 2008, David Foster Wallace has become more than the representative writer of his literary generation—he has become a symbol of sincerity and honesty in an inauthentic age, a figure whose reputation and reach grow by the day. In this compulsively readable biography, D. T. Max charts Wallace’s tormented, anguished, and often triumphant battle to succeed as a novelist as he fights off depression and addiction to emerge with his masterpiece, Infinite Jest. Written with the cooperation of Wallace family members and friends and with access to hundreds of Wallace’s unpublished letters, manuscripts, and journals, this revelatory biography illuminates the unique connections between Wallace’s life and his fiction in a gripping and deeply moving narrative that will transfix readers.
 

About D. T. Max

See more books from this Author
D. T. MAX, a graduate of Harvard University, is a staff writer for The New Yorker. He is the author of The Family That Couldn't Sleep: A Medical Mystery. He lives outside of New York City.
 
Published August 30, 2012 by Penguin Books. 368 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Sep 23 2012
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Critic reviews for Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story
All: 21 | Positive: 17 | Negative: 4

NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Rivka Galchen on Oct 05 2012

In writing a chronologically narrated, thoroughly researched, objective-as-­imaginable biography, Max has created a page turner.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Aug 22 2012

Though the reader may not agree with all of Mr. Max’s assessments of Wallace’s novels and short stories, he does an insightful job of chronicling the development of Wallace’s ideas and narrative strategies...

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Benjamin Markovits on Sep 15 2012

...the biography itself feels fresh rather than hurried. You get the painful sense of a life that should still have been in progress.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Ned Beauman on Aug 30 2012

...Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story is more tantalising than it is satisfying.

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Publishers Weekly

Below average
Jul 09 2012

While this will certainly satisfy those curious about Wallace’s chronology, it’s hard not to expect more from a biography on a writer of Wallace’s stature.

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WSJ online

Excellent
Reviewed by Sam Sacks on Aug 29 2012

...its poignancy is in its emphasis on his years of hard-earned survival and his efforts, though unrealized, toward artistic transformation.

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Michael Pucci on Aug 30 2012

Ultimately, Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story succeeds in offering the clearest glimpse yet of what it must have felt like to live in Wallace’s head—in all its brilliant, recursive, exhausting glory.

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AV Club

Excellent
Reviewed by Vadim Rizov on Sep 03 2012

His suicide shouldn’t be the first step in explaining his work, but—at the expense of a large portion of it—Max makes a coherent narrative from and leading up to it.

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Christian Science Monitor

Below average
Reviewed by Anthony Domestico on Sep 05 2012

The literary analysis is shallow, the writing clichéd...we’re left with a bunch of lifeless facts rather than with any coherent reading of Wallace’s life, his work, and the relation between the two.

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The Maine Edge

Excellent
Reviewed by Allen Adams on Aug 29 2012

D.T. Max’s meticulous research has resulted in a profile of an undeniably brilliant – and undeniably flawed – man trying to come to terms with both the expectations of the world around him and his own expectations of himself.

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The Boston Globe

Excellent
Reviewed by Steve Almond on Sep 03 2012

“Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story’’ serves as a powerful reminder of why Wallace should eventually make good on his collegiate ambition to write fiction people will read “100 years from now.”

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San Francisco Chronicle

Excellent
Reviewed by S. Kirk Walsh on Aug 31 2012

...the biography provides a measure of solace - that if this great writer can't be among us, at least he can be remembered in all of his genius and complexity.

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Open Letters Monthly

Excellent
Reviewed by Nicholas Nardini

D. T. Max offers a moving reminder of what he was: a really really smart Midwestern kid with a capacity for piety rivaling any old lady in Dubuque.

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Oregon Live

Excellent
Reviewed by Jeff Baker on Sep 01 2012

To read Max's revelatory biography is to understand the difficulty of living with a mind on fire.

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Slate

Excellent
Reviewed by Mark O'Connell on Sep 07 2012

...for anyone who felt...connection to Wallace and his work...the experience of knowing him more fully, and of thereby feeling more completely the force and finality of his absence.

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PopMatters

Excellent
Reviewed by Dan Barrett on Oct 16 2012

You certainly won’t be bored when you read Max’s book. But you’ll wish it were longer.

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Salon

Excellent
Reviewed by Scott Timberg on Sep 03 2012

... the biography transforms one man’s life and death into a cultural history of our time.

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The Rumpus

Below average
Reviewed by Ryan Zee on Oct 22 2012

The books’ intended audience...are people already interested in Wallace, and the book seems unlikely to attract much of anyone else.

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Literary Review

Excellent
Reviewed by Sam Leith

...this is a fine piece of work: detailed yet economical, shrewd and subtle about the writing, and detached enough about the life to make clear, from time to time, that this candidate for secular sainthood could also be a jerk.

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GQ

Excellent
Reviewed by Evan Hughes on Sep 12 2012

Max shows that at the center of Wallace's vast influence there was not an idol but a person, a person we should be glad to get to know.

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Vice

Good
Reviewed by Leslie Jamison

In his biography, Max gives us both sides of Wallace—the part of him that could give love, and the part of him that desperately wanted it.

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Reader Rating for Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story
76%

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