David Foster Wallace took his own life in September; in the wake of his death, readers circulated the text of a commencement speech that Wallace – an immensely gifted author and essayist – delivered at Kenyon College in 2005. That speech became something like a testament, and now, as the school year draws to a close, Wallace’s publisher has made it available as a stand-alone book, entitled “This is Water.”
Sadly, the book – which devotes one page to each sentence of Wallace’s address, but (inexplicably) omits a line about suicide – is something of a travesty. But the speech itself is essential reading: A plea for empathy and understanding, from a man who struggled mightily
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