Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace

Apr 20

Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace

And the award for longest time period to finish reading a book goes to….Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. This beast of a book was recommended to me by my youngest brother Casey. (Now in his 30s, I am trying to break the habit of calling him my “little” brother. So hard.) Let it be known that Casey is about one million times smarter than me. That guy tore through this book; it took me many months to wade through this daunting piece of literature.

If you are looking for a linear story, this is not the book for you. There are three (sort of) main characters living in an imagined (somewhat dystopian) world; their stories are told through long winded sentences and horrifyingly tedious footnotes. Hal Incandenza is a tennis prodigy; he hails from a rather eccentric family (I kept getting Royal Tennenbaums flashes) consisting of three sons, a beyond odd mother, and a father that defies description. Don Gately is a former addict and criminal, now trying to survive this life as a member of AA and working at a rehab facility that is close in proximity to the tennis academy that Hal attends.

Then we have the wheelchair assassins.

The first 400 or so pages were really painful for me. After that I perhaps became acclimated to the interesting cadence and I succumbed to the never-ending footnotes and made-up words. I became intrigued by this world filled with obsessions of all shapes and forms. Some of the vignettes were heartbreaking, some disgusting, and some laugh out loud hilarious. The tie that binds most of the tales together is the supposed existence of a video, created by Hal’s father, called Infinite Jest. Supposedly, upon viewing, said movie is so enthralling that viewers would simply watch it until they died.

Imagine the possibilities.

This one earns a reading bucket list check mark for sure. ✔


From Hamlet:

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow
of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath
borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how
abhorred in my imagination it is!

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