A prose magician, Mr. Wallace was capable of writing in his fiction and nonfiction about subjects from tennis to politics to lobsters, from the horrors of drug withdrawal to the small terrors of life aboard a luxury cruise ship, with humor and fervor and verve. At his best he could write funny, write sad, write sardonic and write serious. He could map the infinite and infinitesimal, the mythic and mundane. He could conjure up an absurd future an America in which herds of feral hamsters roam the land while conveying the inroads the absurd has already made in a country where old television shows are a national touchstone and asinine advertisements wallpaper our lives. Michiko Kakutani
Memorial gatherings were held at Pomona College, at Amherst College, at the University of Arizona, at Illinois State University, and, on October 23, 2008, at New York University; the eulogists at NYU included his sister, Amy Wallace Havens; his literary agent, Bonnie Nadell; Gerry Howard , editor of his first two books; Colin Harrison , an editor at Harper's Magazine ; Michael Pietsch, editor of Infinite Jest and later works; Deborah Treisman, fiction editor at The New Yorker magazine; and the writers Don DeLillo , Zadie Smith , George Saunders , Mark Costello , Donald Antrim , and Jonathan Franzen .   
I have whale-watched in the rain, or whale- sought in the rain, while our boat hit waves as tall as houses and their spray left me storm-drenched and salt-soaked and blinking against the sting. I’ve watched a Chinese woman sit beside me at the prow, clenching the railing with one hand and a plastic baggie of her own vomit with the other, undeterred, scanning the horizon for unseen blowholes … I’ve eaten mangoes sweet as candy, licked the orange stain around my mouth after sucking their pits for the last flesh.