Both Flesh and Not is a posthumous collection of David Foster Wallace's previously uncollected work. And it is obviously not the sort of book that would have been published if Wallace was still alive. There are no huge, tentpole essays here to hold the whole book up and give it purpose. Nothing rings the way the title essays in A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again and Consider the Lobster do. It's almost painful to refer to a piece of writing by Wallace as "minor," but that's exactly what we have here: A collection of minor work.
Which is not to say that this is a boring or dumb collection. Even minor Wallace is still Wallace. The book pops with small epiphanies—a consideration of what an oncoming tennis ball must look like to a tennis prodigy, an essay about the charms of Terminator 2—but even those flashbulbs can't obscure the fact that this is a collection of odds and ends, a product of necessity and not of pride.
Another book along those lines has recently been published, with the unfortunate title of David Foster Wallace: The Last Interview: and Other Conversations. It consists of six different interviews with Wallace over the span of his career, from 1996 to 2008. Interviews with Wallace are always a pleasure to read. He never gives a canned answer, and he gives even the dumbest question the full force of his considerable intellect, even if he only responds by saying he's not going to respond. But the title essay, which ends this book, is necessarily a letdown. It's a brief interview with the Wall Street Journal about a repackaged release of Wallace's essay about John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign, and it just feels like business as usual. It's the most perfunctory interview in the collection—the long interviews with Dave Eggers for the Believer and Tom Scocca for the Boston Phoenix are highlights—and it reads like a total anticlimax. Both Flesh and Interview are informative and entertaining, but if you're looking for a book that explores the entirety of Wallace's career and legacy, you're much better off reading D.T. Max's very good biography of Wallace, Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story.