When a writer is putting everything on the line and has decided that literature is necessary to survival in some sense, then you feel it immediately in the prose, and there's no faking it. It just contains three of four different long stretches of writing that were beyond anything he had done before.
I say that as somebody who knows his work fairly well.
That honor went to his 1996 would publish 10 years later as "justly praised but disproportionately famous."Whether you agree with Sullivan may depend on whether you have considered Wallace's tennis writing as a body of work unto itself.
Readers are well aware of his relationship with the sport; it appeared consistently in both his fiction and nonfiction.
Drugs, movies where stuff blows up, loud parties — all these chase away loneliness by making me forget my name’s Dave and I live in a one-by-one box of bone no other party can penetrate or know. If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish” – The Pale King (2011) 10.
Fiction, poetry, music, really deep serious sex, and, in various ways, religion — these are the places (for me) where loneliness is countenanced, stared down, transfigured, treated.” 9. “’Mario, what do you get when you cross an insomniac, an unwilling agnostic and a dyslexic?
I think that's a really intelligent question, but it's also impossible to answer because it assumes that there is some fixed point of judgment that we can steer by and the rest of it will somehow make sense in the light of that.
Really, it's a bunch of relative factors all playing off of one another. He was obsessively analytical to a degree that a lot of people considered tedious.
When you say certain things seem loud now, do you think that's solely your own taste changing?
Or do you feel like some of his pieces have aged differently from others, in general, and that maybe culture's taste has changed as far as how receptive readers are to a writer like Wallace?