. . . to B.S. Johnson

The work of B.S. Johnson (1933–73) has for too long been saddled with the deadly label ‘experimental’. A notorious figure on the British literary landscape of t... Read more

Not Being Shy

Everybody wanted to buy a taco made by That Guy, the guy who needed to get away from his girlfriend so bad that he basically dug a hole in the ground where he could finally have a little peace.

Jonathan Franzen

'Way out at word number 70 or 100 or 140 in a sentence deep into a three-page paragraph of macabre humour or fabulously reticulated self-consciousness, you could smell the ozone from the crackling precision of his sentence structure.'

George Saunders

'A few years back I was flying out to California, reading Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. I found the book was doing weird things to my mind and body. Suddenly, up there over the Midwest, I felt agitated and flinchy.'

Zadie Smith

'Every word looked up, every winding footnote followed, every heart-and brain-stretching concept, they all help break the rhythm of thoughtlessness.'

Don DeLillo

'Infinity. This is the subject of David Wallace’s book on the mathematics, the philosophy and the history of a vast, beautiful, abstract concept.'

Michael Pietsch

'We communicated through letters. And through a form of communication that I thought of as a Dave speciality, the phone message left on the office answering machine hours after everyone had departed.'

Colin Harrison

'Dave explored that huge luxury ship, inspecting its many restaurants and gaming rooms and lounges, all twelve decks and 1,374 passengers, their acres of horrifying flesh soon frying in the sun.'

Gerry Howard

'At twenty-four when our paths crossed, he was painfully deferential, totally unworldly, woefully underdressed, but you knew that he possessed a formidable, even staggering talent and intellect.'

Bonnie Nadell

'In order to write, David couldn’t be in the public eye and still function. It was simply too hard for him. David didn’t have the armour most of us develop to survive in the world.'

Amy Wallace-Havens

'David loved being a writer, not so that he could dazzle us with the glorious arias of his intellect, but so that he could take us with him as he questioned what most of us don’t bother to question.'