His best-known novel, Et Tu, Babe, was published 20 years ago, but now the writer has returned (with a new book, The Sugar Frosted Nutsack) to a world that matches the absurdity of his pre-Internet work:

On Charlie Rose [in 1996], Jonathan Franzen, David Foster Wallace and Mark Leyner sat together in the familiar round table, infinite-void-of-nothingness that is the Charlie Rose set. Each responded to Rose’s questions about the state of fiction more or less in character: Franzen, who had a wavy pageboy haircut that frizzed out untempered to nearly chin level, defended the classical novel as an oasis for readers who feel lonely and misunderstood. Leyner, wearing a robust, Mephistophelian goatee — perhaps fitting for the man Wallace once accused of being “a kind of anti-Christ” — said simply: ‘My relationship with my readers is somewhat theatrical. One of the main things I try to do in my work is delight my readers.’ Wallace looked much as we picture him now, posthumously chiseled into Mount Literature: the ponytail, the bearish features, the rough scruff on his jaw. He played the part of a calming, Midwestern-inflected mediator, saying, ‘I feel like I’m, if you put these two guys in a blender. . . . ‘”