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Daniel Wallace (1) (1959–)

Author of Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions

For other authors named Daniel Wallace, see the disambiguation page.

16+ Works 3,266 Members 123 Reviews 6 Favorited

About the Author

Daniel Wallace was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He attended Emory University and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, studying English and philosophy. He is best known as the author of the 1998 novel, Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions. This novel became the basis for Tim Burton's film, show more Big Fish. Wallace currently is a professor and lecturer in the English Department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Daniel Wallace, author of "Big Fish" (credit: Larry D. Moore, Texas Book Festival, Austin, TX, Nov. 1, 2008)


Works by Daniel Wallace

Associated Works

Big Fish [2003 film] (2003) — Author — 533 copies
New Stories from the South 2006: The Year's Best (2000) — Contributor — 56 copies
New Stories from the South 2007: The Year's Best (2007) — Contributor — 55 copies
Crossroads: Tales of the Southern Literary Fantastic (2004) — Contributor — 52 copies
New Stories from the South 2008: The Year's Best (2008) — Contributor — 51 copies
Alabama Noir (2020) — Contributor — 38 copies
Stories from the Blue Moon Café III (2004) — Contributor — 18 copies
Stories from the Blue Moon Café IV (2005) — Contributor — 15 copies
A Kudzu Christmas: Twelve Mysterious Tales (2005) — Contributor; Illustrator, some editions — 13 copies
The bitter southerner reader. Vol. 2 (2018) — Contributor — 4 copies
The bitter southerner reader. Vol. 5 (2020) — Contributor — 2 copies
Food stories : writing that stirs the pot — Contributor — 1 copy


adult fiction (8) Alabama (21) American (12) American literature (13) ARC (9) books-i-own (11) contemporary (10) contemporary fiction (10) Daniel Wallace (11) death (13) family (31) fantasy (100) fathers (12) fathers and sons (18) fiction (372) first edition (8) humor (17) literature (11) made into movie (16) magic (20) magical realism (58) memoir (16) movie (25) myth (10) non-fiction (9) novel (46) own (22) read (51) signed (39) southern (13) southern fiction (9) storytelling (21) suicide (10) tall tales (16) to-read (171) unread (26) USA (9) ~EDN~ (10) ~EDT~ (10) ~TAG~ (11)

Common Knowledge



This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was a very well written book about the author's brother-in-law. It was about his life up to the point of him committing suicide. Very sad that his sister was left all alone. Ending was great and all in all a good read.
Trigger warnings: suicide.
booklover3258 | 17 other reviews | Jul 31, 2023 |
Insightful and intimate, but still with a paradoxical undercurrent of universality. This is a grief memoir, but also an examination of perceptions of masculinity and of family. The man who defined for the author what it meant to "be a man", his brother in law William, killed himself, leaving behind Wallace and Wallace's sister, a chronically ill and substantially disabled woman who had been his constant companion since they had been in grade school, the love of his life and also a person who was completely dependent on William. Wallace lays himself bare (he certainly does not offer a very glamourous picture of himself) and also lays bare Willam whom he comes to know through the journals he left behind.

The book is painful to read from start to finish, but it is also insightful and brings home in excruciating detail the impossibility of really knowing anyone. It is a beautiful homage to William, an iconoclast, but also man who was deeply flawed and desperately wanted to be better. Wallace occasionally goes off into some self-indulgent directions that do not enhance the narrative, but overall this is truly excellent.
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Narshkite | 17 other reviews | Jul 30, 2023 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
People are a mystery. We can only know the pieces of them that they are willing to show or share. No matter how much they appear to be an open book, there is some hidden part, smaller or larger, that they hold secret. Mostly we don't give much thought to this very private piece of the people in our lives. Their public self is enough. But when you lose someone by suicide, someone you thought you knew, someone who was instrumental in forming your own adult self, someone you loved dearly, you might start to look harder to try and find that missing piece, the unshared and unsharable aspect of your loved one's persona. This was definitely true for Daniel Wallace, as he chronicles in his non-fiction look at his late brother-in-law, William Nealy, This Isn't Going to End Well.

When Wallace was twelve, he first met his future brother-in-law. There was an immediate case of hero worship for this fearless, adventurous, talented, and charismatic man. William represented everything cool in Wallace's world and the fact that he took time to get to know this awkward kid and to occasionally include him or teach him was an absolute gift. Wallace wanted to be like William when he grew up, never knowing the demons that William fought underneath that legendary exterior until it was far too late.

William was a deeply complex person suffering from deep trauma and suicidal ideation. He was increasingly obsessed with his best friend's unsolved murder. On the surface, he was a master at just about everything he turned his hand to, he was loving and tender, especially with Holly, Wallace's sister, who suffered from crippling arthritis and a multitude of other health problems, he was (and still is) a famed cartoonist, a storied and respected river runner, and a much beloved brother-in-law. But all of that could not keep him from taking his own life, an act that left Wallace confused, angry, and devastated, and ultimately searching for the truth of the man he thought he'd known.

The book is almost a series of vignettes from Wallace's own life, his memories of William, Holly, and his attempts to work through his own confused feelings about William's death. It is both Wallace's book and William's book, and even occasionally Holly's book. It is musing and reflective when Wallace is focused on himself. Oddly enough, it is less sympathetic when it turns to William though. Wallace uses excerpts from William's private journals, which were supposed to be destroyed, to give the reader a look into William's mind. This private, made very public without consent, in fact, expressly against consent, makes for some very uncomfortable reading. Clearly Wallace is still angry about William's death and while he doesn't sugar coat this ugly emotion and all it inspired him to do, he hasn't seemed to work past it far enough to feel deep sorrow and understanding for the man who suffered so much emotionally in private. In a way, the anger feels like a betrayal of all that William gave to him over the years.

This is less a memoir/biography than a reflection on how hard it is, indeed, to realize that someone you adored was merely human like the rest of us and the sadness of discovering that the inner person isn't like the outer person, or at least the outer person isn't the whole of the person you thought you knew. William was a major influence on Daniel's life but one has to wonder after reading this, what William himself would have thought of his brother-in-law's book, whether he would have thought it a fair exposure or not. Laying bare what it did, in the manner that it did, was deeply uncomfortable to me as a reader.
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whitreidtan | 17 other reviews | Jul 17, 2023 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I feel very troubled by this book. On the one hand, it is insightful into the author's coming of age and is well written. On the other hand, it ultimately isn't about the author, isn't actually a memoir -- it is frankly speculative and exploitative of its true subject. Wallace calls him "the man I thought I knew" but there's no uncovering of who he really is. There's a lot of dark things revealed, things that shouldn't have been Wallace's to share. There's SO much speculation. It feels unfair. I really felt troubled by the storytelling and what it means for Wallace's sister and now-deceased brother-in-law who simply could not weigh in.… (more)
1 vote
sparemethecensor | 17 other reviews | Jul 10, 2023 |



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