Tag Archives: Viking Press

A.M. Homes’ “May We Be Forgiven”

A.M. Homes’ newest novel is the story of a family crisis and the rebuilding of a life. When Harry’s brother commits a tragic murder, Harry is left to care for his niece and nephew with the rudimentary skills of a man who never quite grew up. On surface, perhaps, Harry’s life appears successful, steadfast. But infidelity, the break-up of his marriage and the loss of his job all demonstrate how tenuous his grasp of reality was. Harry is a man living with his head down, watching his feet as he plods through life, who is suddenly forced to reexamine everything he has pegged his life on so far. Homes is an astute observer of the world we live in today. Harry’s self-discovery takes us through the strange and intimate world of sex in an isolated society, shows us what it means to be parents and children, and examines our place as Americans in the larger story of the world.  Continue reading

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Our October Review Previewganza

As of today, September 29, we have reviewed forty-eight titles in 2012—not bad, right? This week we will publish titles 49 and 50. And yet, there’s more! So much more, really, to come as autumn turns to winter. October will be something of a catching-up period, for us, as we review some September titles sitting in our review queue. But there will be some October titles covered as well. Here’s a not-at-all exhaustive list of what we’ve got to come.  Continue reading

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D. T. Max’s “Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace”

It’s difficult to imagine a figure with a more awesomely passionate and thoughtful audience than David Foster Wallace. So the task of writing the first major biography of the late writer must involve not only the regular mining of primary sources but also grappling with a weighty paradox: the group best suited to buy and absorb and appreciate your work is also your adversary in that they know a ton, they care a lot, and they will hold you to a higher standard than your editor. But D. T. Max’s Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace is so captivating, well-researched, and straightforward that even the most frenzied Wallace fanatic should find little to quibble with.

Max’s method is simple: compile a lot of information about Wallace and arrange it in a way that tries to explain how he came to be who he was at each stage in his life: the pot-smoking tennis-playing adolescent; the anxious and competitive wastoid who managed to complete two undergraduate theses at Amherst College; the volatile writer who struggled with the combination of national critical success and realist professorial criticism at an MFA program in Tucson; the recovering addict who wrote Infinite Jest; the lothario who seized on young mothers; and the man who hanged himself at age 46.

Understanding the composite Wallace, DFW the person, doesn’t seem Max’s objective. He appears content offering the reader a better grasp of what led Wallace where in life and what formed his understanding of writing, drawing largely from Wallace’s friends and family, his letters, and, of course, his books.  Continue reading

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An Interview with D. T. Max

This Tuesday, Viking Press will release D. T. Max’s Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace. I first read Max in a college copyediting course, where his wonderful article on editorial boundaries and the relationship between Raymond Carver and Gordon Lish was assigned. Our professor talked fondly of the buzz created by the article, how it was all anyone talked about, how he and his friends wrestled with what the revelations about Lish’s heavy influence meant about Carver’s work.

When I found out Max was writing the first comprehensive biography of Wallace, I hoped he might help us at least know more Wallace’s life and work. And of course I had high hopes—Max’s heartbreaking New Yorker piece on Wallace’s final years augured well for a larger project.

Max was kind enough to speak with me about the book’s reception, the DFW backlash, and where The Pale King fits in Wallace’s oeuvre. Special thanks to Viking’s Shannon Twomey for arranging the interview.  Continue reading

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