I remember not thinking I could review this book the first time I read it. This time around I am still not sure I can do it (especially in light of the many wonderful reviews already written
) but I am gonna give it a shot. I don't know what the fuck I was thinking giving this book only a four star rating. Since finishing this book a few years ago I've considered IJ one of the greatest books I've ever read.
Prior to September 12th, 2008 I hadn't been affected by the death of a public figure, celebrity or musician. Though I still remember hearing the news of Kurt Cobain's death my reaction was tepid compared to those around me. DFW's death hurt, it felt like something was stolen from each one of us, and the world was much worse off. What's funny is that this was my reaction prior to reading IJ. Thank christ it didn't happen after.
So yeah, this is going to be my review, I will update it as I progress through my second reading talking about god-knows-what. I had the pleasure of going to the UofA for grad school so I will be sure to include pictures and anecdotes as they arise about Tucson and Phoenix as I come across them in the book.
For example, here is the administration building on the UA campus where (presumably) the opening scenes take place:
If you are/were a student at UA you probably don't find trips to this building fun. In fact, the amount of paperwork I had to deal with there could have appeared in The Pale King.
What strikes me the most about this second read through is how much different the book feels. No longer do I feel that the book is a major challenge to be conquered. It feels so much more alive and playful. Whole passages seem to have changed. Clennette and Wardine's scene (page 35) seemed tortuously long on initial reading but now felt much shorter and much easier. I've also noticed some connections between characters and plot lines that would have been impossible to catch in one reading.
Any time spent not re-reading this book (which is the majority of my time, damn you Library!) feels like a waste of time. I've even gone as far as to cut social interaction short so I can return to the book if only for 20 minutes before falling asleep at night.