In his lifetime, David Foster Wallace was lauded by critics and loved by fans. But even to those who had barely read his work, he was something of a cult figure. Since his suicide in 2008, Wallace has become the Kurt Cobain of the printed word, and his life and death now stand as symbols of a generation's hopes and their despair. In this compelling account of Wallace's evolution from anxious adolescent into post-modern anti-hero, D. T. Max will speak to those who knew him intimately and those who were drawn to him from afar to tell the story of a man struggling to write authentically about "what it is to be a fucking human being" against the frenetic noise of modern life and the cavernous void of American culture. This is a story of drugs and depression, of madness and creativity intertwined, of a man who felt profoundly lost but still found a way to capture this lostness in words and hold it defiantly aloft, like a flag for his generation.