A lot has been said on this book being just a shallow bag of tricks, the work of a quirky writer with not much interesting to say. That is only half t...moreA lot has been said on this book being just a shallow bag of tricks, the work of a quirky writer with not much interesting to say. That is only half true.
While this is a book full of gimmicks, it manages to succeed because underneath all the quirks and tricks, there are sincere and moving stories, and because there are good, profound ideas where these stories can firmly lay their roots. Memory, our relationship with our past, sacrifice, friendship and love all get examined under the brilliant lens of this fresh and clearly gifted young writer.
So really, JSF’s gimmicks end up being the frosting on the cake. A big, juicy cake full of colorful and exciting characters, interesting ideas (especially those on love) and heartbreaking stories.
- Changed the way I see the world - Reminded me that life can get hard as fuck, and made me happy to be alive - Changed me deep down in...moreInfinite Jest:
- Changed the way I see the world - Reminded me that life can get hard as fuck, and made me happy to be alive - Changed me deep down inside for the best - Made me laugh and made me cry - Made me feel less and more alone - Convinced me into taking tennis lessons (still going) - Made me think deep re: family, love, boredom and entertainment, transcendence, drugs and addictions, sports, loyalty, politics, life and death, escape, the arts, mold, wraiths - Was like a mirror for my soul, but also contained it - Made me a recluse at times (pissed off my friends and the girlfriend a couple of times) - Got me to revisit Shakespeare and finally buy the Brothers K (in beautiful hardcover!) - Taught me the meaning of approximately 73 words I had never heard/read before - Made me want to bring DFW back to life, sometimes to hug him, sometimes just to erase his goddamned map again - Forced me to stop reading altogether for weeks at a time - Got me to play some opera when sad - Made me curse (a lot) - Confused the hell out of me - Convinced me to finally start writing properly - Made me buy a yacht hat - Was a humbling, ego-shattering experience
If the above list isn’t proof enough of the power of Infinite Jest and literature in general, then I have no idea what could be. (less)
This is a shallow and boring book… Allende suffers from some serious flaws as a writer. There’s a story of some sorts, but it is so boring and depress...moreThis is a shallow and boring book… Allende suffers from some serious flaws as a writer. There’s a story of some sorts, but it is so boring and depressing, and it carries on for so long and in such a dry and tedious manner, it’s insufferable. There are absolutely no build-ups or excitement. When something finally happens, it comes out of the blue with no sense whatsoever (no explicit or tacit explanations are offered), and when we do actually get some sort of justification, it’s some shallow over-simplification of psychological, emotional, social or historical problems. People were unhappy because the rich abused their power, so a revolution begun. What? Seriously? Allende tries to tackle three generations and the socio-political problems of Chile at the time, building some sort of epic novel, but it simply falls flat on its ass. Not enough depth, not enough direction. Top it all off with some of the driest, least imaginative prose ever and zero critical thinking (offered by the author or required from the reader) and you’ve got a total suck fest.
And yet, the aforementioned is not even the worst quality it possesses. Oh no. What really drives me bats, the Problem, the Poison, is Allende’s portrayal of women. Women that according to Allende, are strong and independent. Being strong is not letting people run over you. Being strong is not letting a son-of-a-bitch ruin your life and your family’s again and again. Fuck, even the chicks that could look into the future would resign to their horrible fate instead of fuckin’ doing something about it. And that precisely brings us to the Main Issue: Resignation. There is this stupid notion about Latin-American women being strong because they possess this “Dignified Resignation” before misery and pain. Fuck that. That is not true and that does not make someone strong. Allende being a Latin-American woman should know that, and feel ashamed of reinforcing such a notion. Strong (Latin-American or not) woman seek change through action and thought. Through love and unselfishness. Not through “Dignified Resignation”. Shit, this really got me going…(less)