It must be said that the man wrote some damn fun books. Jurassic Park, Eaters of the Dead, Timeline--all terribly enjoyable.
His life was a map that ends at the wrong destination. Wallace was an A student through high school, he played football, he played tennis, he wrote a philosophy thesis and a novel before he graduated from Amherst, he went to writing school, published the novel, made a city of squalling, bruising, kneecapping editors and writers fall moony-eyed in love with him. He published a thousand-page novel, received the only award you get in the nation for being a genius, wrote essays providing the best feel anywhere of what it means to be alive in the contemporary world, accepted a special chair at California's Pomona College to teach writing, married, published another book and, last month, hanged himself at age 46.
"The one thing that really should be said about David Foster Wallace is that this was a once-in-a-century talent," says his friend and former editor Colin Harrison. "We may never see a guy like this again in our lifetimes — that I will shout out. He was like a comet flying by at ground level."
And I'm tearing up here. Terkel was always one of my literary heroes. "Working" is a masterpiece, and every other book he's ever written is crammed with passion and humor and insight. He was an incredibly empathetic man--perhaps the most humane of all writers.
Colleague and close friend Thom Clark said Terkel's son, Dan Terkell, confirmed his death today. He died at home at 2:40 p.m., Clark said.
Studs Terkel is best known for his street-wise portrayals of the working class. He contrasted rich and poor along the same Chicago street in the 1966 novel "Division Street: America," explored the Depression in 1970's "Hard Times" and chronicled how people felt about their jobs in 1974's "Working."
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