Greg's Reviews > Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
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's review
Jul 28, 2011

really liked it
Read in July, 2012 , read count: 1

OK, I'm a couple hundred pages in, and while it's certainly good and parts are interesting, especially when you get to thinking about what Wallace is doing with this novel, but it's also pretty slow. There are a jillion characters, most of them not too likeable (such is life, in particular Wallace's) and most of their actions are meaningless. Or meaningful in their futility, I guess.

One of the things that keeps pulling me out of the story is the supposedly futuristic video system everyone watches TV on and even studies in school. I know this was written a few years ago, but it missed the Internet video boom so badly that it's hard to accept it as futurist or even remotely plausible. It's one thing when Wallace's forays into experimental form, format, and style throw you out of the narrative, it's something else when it's a really bad guess at the future. Maybe it was meant to be, it's hard to say.

He is a pretty great writer though, and obviously could do anything with language, form, and the novel that he wanted. It's also interesting to read a guy who put in EVERYTHING he thought of, and have it all more or less work. It's how people think and talk. We don't edit out the boring stuff or the off-topic stuff (that only happens in movies and some novels). This one just has everything. I'd say it's like real life, but it's not, because of that stupid video system thing, you know?

I don't know if I'd put this in the must-read category that many lit types do, but then again, I'm only 1/5 of the way through it. I don't think it's pretentious to read it, unless you are reading it so you can say you read it. There's just too many humdrum everyday things going on to be considered pretentious. It's certainly interesting, especially if you play tennis.

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Reading Progress

01/27 page 268
03/06 marked as: read
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