JACKI LYDEN host:
One of the great, young literary voices of the late 20th century has died. David Foster Wallace wrote the critically acclaimed 1996 novel "Infinite Jest." He was found dead in his home in Claremont, California on Friday. Wallace's wife told police that he hanged himself.
David Foster Wallace developed a cult following in the 1980s with his early works, but it was "Infinite Jest" that gained him widespread attention. The novel was set in the future, in an era of hyper-commercialism. It revolved around a fictional film that was so entertaining, anyone who watched it would die because they wouldn't want to do anything but watch it.
"Infinite Jest" featured a massive cast of characters sprawled across more than 1,000 pages. And there were hundreds of footnotes. Critics raved. In fact, Time magazine named "Infinite Jest" one of the 100 best English language novels from 1923 to 2005. But Wallace told PBS's Charlie Rose that he found the attention a little strange.
Mr. DAVID FOSTER WALLACE (Author, "Infinite Jest"): I didn't read a lot of the reviews, but a lot of the positive ones seemed to me to misunderstand the book. I wanted it to be extraordinarily sad and not particularly postmodern or jumbled up or fractured. And most of the people, the reviewers who really liked it, seemed to like it because it was funny, or it was erudite, or it was interestingly fractured.
LYDEN: A year after "Infinite Jest" was published, the MacArthur Foundation awarded Wallace a genius grant. Wallace's later work included nonfiction, short story collections, and essays on filmmaker David Lynch, tennis star Roger Federer, and Senator John McCain. David Foster Wallace is dead at the age of 46.