Ostap Karmodi is a Russian journalist living in Europe and working for Russian and European media. He’s covered various subjects, including English and American literature (in Russian) and Russian literature (in English). He’s also the author of a bestselling Russian-language guide to Prague.


‘A Frightening Time in America’: An Interview with David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace giving a reading at All Saints Church, San Francisco, 2006

At least here in America, we’re in a time that’s very, very cynical. So that when you have a piece of pop-culture that has a very virtuous person or a hero, people see those qualities much more as presentations by someone who’s trying to get something, whether money or approval, than true human virtue or true qualities. One consequence of what American scholars call a post-modern era is that everyone has seen so many performances, that American viewers and American readers, we simply assume now that everything is a performance and it’s strategic and it’s tactical. It’s a very sad situation and I think the chances are that nations go through periods of great idealism and great cynicism, and that America and Europe, at least Western Europe right now, are in periods of great cynicism.