Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Infinite Jest

I finished Infinite Jest last night. It took me a long time to read. I'm embarrassed that it took me so long to read this book, but it was such an experience. Like I've really worked over the last few months.

I'm still searching for meaning and a bit baffled at what I read. There are just so many great things about this book. I feel like this is the Ulysses (not that I've read that) of our generation. Without spoiling anything:

1) I started this book twice. I didn't notice it at first, but the first chapter is absolutely hilarious and I was surprised that I missed that the first time through.

2) If you decide to read this book, keep a notebook beside you and write down notes about each character. I wish I had done this.

3) This was published in 1996. His ability to forecast the future of information dissemination and network television is eerie.

4) Probably 3/4's of the way through the book there is an exchange between the Mom's and Mario. Not much is said in this exchange but it left me with a really profound feeling. Like I had been standing there. Like I had an incredible fondness for Mario and an idea of who he was. I feel sad that I don't actually know him.

5) The way that David Foster Wallace gives out information is very interesting. He hints and suggests and then finally tells you what is going on almost like it's already obvious or like he's accidentally let something slip. I don't think I have such subtlety within me.

Update - Coincidentally, Slate just posted an old interview with David Foster Wallace. It was done in 1998 and DFW says "I've never been on the Internet". He barley knew how to use a computer at this point. He used a typewriter. Somehow, this makes his sci-fi predictions in Infinite Jest even more impressive. Not that he's predicted the rise of the Internet or anything. Just some of the consequences.

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