D.T. Max is a graduate of Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker. His book, Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace, published in 2012, was a New York Times bestseller. He is also the author of The Family That Couldn't Sleep: A Medical Mystery. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, their two young children, and a rescued beagle who came to them named Max.
Named one of the best books of the year by...
David Foster Wallace was the leading literary light of his era, a man who not only captivated readers with his prose but also mesmerized them with his brilliant mind. In this, the first biography of the writer, D. T. Max sets out to chart 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.
Since his untimely death by suicide at the age of forty-six in 2008, Wallace has become more than the quintessential writer for his time—he has become a symbol of sincerity and honesty in an inauthentic age.In the end, as Max shows us, what is most interesting about Wallace is not just what he wrote but how he taught us all to live. Written with the cooperation of Wallace’s family and friends and with access to hundreds of his unpublished letters, manuscripts, and audio tapes, this portrait of an extraordinarily gifted writer is as fresh as news, as intimate as a love note, as painful as a goodbye.
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Praise for Every Love Story is a Ghost Story
"This book is very well researched, deeply sympathetic, and incredibly painful to read. We should feel grateful that this story was told by someone as talented and responsible as D.T. Max." - Dave Eggers, author of A Hologram for the King
"This book should be handed to anyone who wants to write, if only to remind the aspiring writer that becoming a voice of generational significance turns out to be very poor insulation indeed from struggle, fear, and despair. D. T. Max is beautifully attuned to Wallace's strengths, whether personal or literary, and bracingly clear-sighted on his flaws. The result is a book that's moving, surprising (Wallace voted for Reagan?), and hugely disquieting. If you love Wallace's work, you obviously need to read this book; if you don't love Wallace's work, you especially need to read this book.” —Tom Bissell, author of The Father of All Things
"Building on his acclaimed New Yorker profile, Max draws on his unparalleled access to sources--from friends and family members to previously unpublished notes and letters--and renders a life and literary portrait that fans will devour and critics will find indispensable. Through the grace of D. T. Max's clear prose readers will know Wallace and miss him as never before." —Evan Wright, author of Generation Kill
"Gripping, cleanly written, cannily plotted and elegantly educational.... The book brims with great tales."
—Natalie Angier, New York Times Book Review
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For many, the prospect of going without sleep for months is a nightmare. Fatal Familial Insomnia means just that. The disease strikes in middle age, with symptoms including sweating, impotence and the sudden onset of menopause. 15 months after the symptoms appear, the patient dies. Very little is known about the disease’s cause or treatment. Members of one Italian family experienced the horror of fatal familial insomnia for two centuries. D.T. Max’s The Family That Couldn’t Sleep details their saga with the disease and their race to find a cure. To help the family that inspired The Family That Couldn’t Sleep, please visit www.afiff.org.
“This is a riveting detective story that plumbs one of the deepest mysteries of biology. The story takes the reader from the torments of an Italian family cursed with sleeplessness to the mad cows of England (and, now, America), following an unlikely trail of misfolded proteins. D. T. Max unfolds his absorbing narrative with rare grace and makes the science sing.”
—Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and The Botany of Desire
“Much has been written about prions and mad cow disease—nearly all of it worthless. Thankfully, from the world of journalism comes D. T. Max to set things right. Throw all those other ‘mad cow’ books in the trash: This is the book to read about prions—or whatever you want to call them. It’s a riveting tale, told by someone with a very special understanding, derived in part from his own strange ailment. Find a cozy spot, clear your schedule, and dive in.”
—Laurie Garrett, author of Betrayal of Trust and The Coming Plague
“D. T. Max deftly unfolds the mysterious prion in all its villainous guises. Although scientists do not fully understand these proteins—how they replicate and wreak such havoc in their victims’ brains—this book reveals their historical, cultural, and scientific place in our world. Prepare to be enlightened, entertained, and frightened.”
—Katrina Firlik, M.D., author of Another Day in the Frontal Lobe
“D. T. Max has combined the enthralling medical anthropology of Oliver Sacks with the gothic horror of Stephen King to produce a medical detective story that is as intelligent as it is spooky. Always fascinating—how could it not be, with characters that include cannibals, mad cows, and an Italian family cursed by fatal insomnia?—Max’s book is also a gripping account of scientific discovery and a heartfelt meditation on what it means to be afflicted with an incurable, and brutal, illness.”
—David Plotz, author of The Genius Factory
“A great book . . . D. T. Max has drawn the curtain on a cabinet of folly and malady that will stagger your imagination.”
—Philip Weiss, author of American Taboo