Kara's Reviews > Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
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's review
May 12, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: tome
Read in December, 2008

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 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.


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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Steve (new)

Steve How funny! I'm reading "Consider the Lobster," my first DFW book.

Kara It's almost like we have similar tastes in books! Infinite Jest is my first DFW, too. Can't wait to compare notes!

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