What a fantastic book! I must admit, the giant size of this tome was a bit intimidating at first, and it was kind of a pain to drag the huge thing to...moreWhat a fantastic book! I must admit, the giant size of this tome was a bit intimidating at first, and it was kind of a pain to drag the huge thing to the hair salon as I got my hair done. But, at the 600 page mark, I started to get disappointed that it was nearly over! (With only 150 pages left to go - alas!) Actually, this book reminds me of my beloved 18th century novels, with a bunch of characters and lots of intricate plot twists and turns. The footnotes added to the experience of reading a genuinely "old" book. What an amazing first novel from Susanna Clarke.(less)
I had been wanting to read Infinite Jest for many, many years, but never quite found the right time to get started. I finally decided to take the plun...moreI had been wanting to read Infinite Jest for many, many years, but never quite found the right time to get started. I finally decided to take the plunge a few months ago. I checked our library catalog and there were only a few copies in the system, but they were all available -- I knew I'd have plenty of time to renew over and over again for the time it would take to finish a 1,000+ page book.
About a third of the way in -- page 386, to be precise -- I heard about DFW's suicide. By the time I went online to renew, everyone who had read the obits put holds on the book so the reserves list was a mile long. No more renewals for me! I returned the library copy and bought my own and after several weeks finally made my way through.
It is an amazing book -- dark, humorous, with biting commentary -- and deserves all the critical praise it gets. That said, Infinite Jest never really swept me away; it seems to keep the reader at a (safe?) distance. The characters are fascinating, but not particularly likable or somehow not all that accessible, even with all the interior monologues. The digressions and POV-switching made it difficult for me to find a narrative thread to hold on to over the many weeks it took to get through. Every time I picked up the book, I felt like I was starting over. (And, of course, this may very well be the point!)
While I can say I deeply admire the book and consider it "important" in the literary sense, it's not one I'm destined to love love LOVE, to recommend widely, or probably to return to.