Patricia Lockwood on DFW

This whole piece, about The Pale King and Infinite Jest, is great, but this paragraph in particular is fanTAStic:

Time​ will tell who is an inventor and who is a tech disruptor. There was ambient pressure, for a while, to say that Wallace created a new kind of fiction. I’m not sure that’s true – the new style is always the last gasp of an old teacher, and Infinite Jest in particular is like a house party to which he’s invited all of his professors. Thomas Pynchon is in the kitchen, opening a can of expired tuna with his teeth. William Gaddis is in the den, reading ticker-tape off a version of C-Span that watches the senators go to the bathroom. Don DeLillo is three houses down, having sex with his wife. I’m not going to begrudge him a wish that the world was full of these wonderful windy oddballs, who were all entrusted with the same task: to encompass, reflect, refract. But David, some of these guys had the competitive advantage of having been personally experimented on by the US military. You’re not going to catch them. Calm down.

The final three paragraphs are outstanding as well, but I won’t steal their thunder by copying them here. Just go read the whole thing.

(Lockwood noted here previously, on John Updike, back in 2020; in my long years of failing to blog books, I realize I never wrote here of her memoir Priestdaddy from 2017, which is excellent and worth your time as well.)

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