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Infinite Jest
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Joshua Wilson | 7 comments It would have been cool to have the footnotes but I understand the decision to exclude them. I'm still excited for the audiobook. What is the archives of L of C?

David Brooke | 17 comments I am still excited as well. Just surprised.

message 53: by Sean (new)

Sean Pratt | 17 comments Library Of Congress

David Brooke | 17 comments It's now available on audible! 56 hours!

message 55: by Sean (new)

Sean Pratt | 17 comments ....and, we're off!

message 56: by John, Moderator (new)

John | 3854 comments How many weeks did it take to read 56 (net) hours of material?

David Brooke | 17 comments I can't imagine how many more hours this would be if you recorded the footnotes. That can they say this book is unabridged if the footnotes aren't recorded?

David Brooke | 17 comments FYI. The PDF that comes with the audiobook (I'm assuming this is the footnotes) is currently broken on audible.

message 59: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth I think there's a typo in the link. I tried removing the space in the file name (after the last slash) and got it to work. And you're right, it's a pdf with all of the footnotes.

message 60: by Sean (new)

Sean Pratt | 17 comments John wrote: "How many weeks did it take to read 56 (net) hours of material?"

We recorded it, on and off, for over two years; due to several reasons.
1) It took a fair amount of prep to record each 12 hour chunk; that was our agreed upon goal for each 10 day session.
2) When you're working on a project this big you start to lose steam, and perspective, after awhile, and need to take a break from it to re-charge your narrator/director batteries.
3) John McElroy and I are pretty busy people and had to juggle a lot of other clients, with their audio projects, as well. So finding a two week window to record each chunk proved daunting.

message 61: by Sean (new)

Sean Pratt | 17 comments Nosocialize wrote: "I can't imagine how many more hours this would be if you recorded the footnotes. That can they say this book is unabridged if the footnotes aren't recorded?"

I believe the thinking goes that the text is the text and the footnbotes are the footnotes. Of course, IJ is an exception to this rule as they give some much back story, but generally speaking, in the audio world you NEVER record the footnotes unless asked to by the the author or publisher. Come to think of it, in 650 books, I've never recorded all the footnotes in a book, only selected ones.

There's also the issue of continuity of the main story for the listener. If you have a really long footnote to listen to you may have trouble recalling where you are in the plot when the narrator returns to the story.

Lastly, in the case of IJ, it was also a money issue. As you might imagine, a project of this size is VERY expensive to produce. I think that Hachette was trying to strike a balance between the interests of the lay-listener and the hardcore acolyte. :-)

message 62: by j (last edited Apr 09, 2012 07:00PM) (new)

j (joeleoj) | 208 comments the footnotes (some of them long but not DFW-long) were included for jonathan strange & mr. norrell.

i find this decision... disappointing, but understandable. coupled with the 2-credit cost, it has put a damper on my enthusiasm for the time being however. kind of pushes me back in the direction of thinking this is a book that should be read with your eyeballs if possible -- i'm not a "reading over listening" snob by any means, but i'd really like the complete text, and i think dealing with the frustration of the footnotes is a part of it.

(i also think the kind of person willing to listen to a 56-hour david foster wallace audiobook is very likely the kind of person who would care that the footnotes aren't included... but i might be wrong on that score.)

Darwin8u | 34 comments Agreed Joel. I think the idea of doing Infinite Jest without the endnotes is like doing Pale Fire without the commentary. Would it be longer? Certainly, yes. Would it break the continuity of the story? Hell yes. That is kinda the whole point of DFW using endnotes. They are not just supplements to the text, but a structurally difficult part of the text. The footnotes ARE as much a part of the main story as the Enfield Tennis Academy or Ennet House. Do I understand how Hachette would find it difficult to do the Audio version with the endnotes? Certainly. But call it what it is ... an abridgment.

David Brooke | 17 comments Elizabeth wrote: "I think there's a typo in the link. I tried removing the space in the file name (after the last slash) and got it to work. And you're right, it's a pdf with all of the footnotes."

Thanks Elizabeth. That fixes it!

message 65: by David (last edited Apr 10, 2012 04:36AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

David Brooke | 17 comments Sean wrote: "Nosocialize wrote: "I can't imagine how many more hours this would be if you recorded the footnotes. That can they say this book is unabridged if the footnotes aren't recorded?"

I bel..."

After looking at the footnotes that come with the audiobook I think I understand what you're saying. There are 98 pages of footnotes That's intense. Some of these are super short too.

message 66: by Joshua (new) - added it

Joshua Wilson | 7 comments First all I have to say that I downloaded this audiobook from audible and it's pretty good so far. I do wish that the footnotes were included. It would have been cool if they had one voice actor read the main text and then have another one just do the footnotes. I can see why some people are mad. Some of the footnotes are kind of important.

Darwin8u | 34 comments Audible abridged my endnotes in my review. Here are the the full unabridged endnotes from my audible review:

1. This audiobook is not unabridged.
2. It has no endnotes.
3. Endnotes are an essential part of this novel.
4. Understand the difficulty of including endnotes in an audiobook, but alas, if you are going to call it unabridged, it better BE unabridged.
5. Not sure if DFW would have allowed the endnotes to be stripped.
6. Frustrated.
7. Irritated.
8. Disquieted.
9. A little irritated about 2 credits (and did I mention no endnotes?)
10. Ibid.
11. "The challenge in editing David Foster Wallace was the difficulty of wrangling his prose and narrative structure, which were often purposefully peripatetic and disjointed (in the best sense of the word), without disrupting the writing's pacing or diluting its effect, which Wallace intended as a numbing overload to the reader's faculties comparable to the overwhelming 'constant monologue inside your own head.'"*
12. Crap.
13. "The following pieces were published in edited, heavily edited, or (in at least one instance) bowdlerized form." The "bowdlerized" piece, "Host," was about a right-wing radio personality, and Wallace was also frustrated by the abridgement of "Up, Simba," the story he wrote about John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign and, he insisted on publishing a web edition of his full article.**
14. There are options for including footnotes in audiobooks.
15. In 'Consider the Lobster' another DFW book the producer used a phone filter for footnotes (which ARE included).
16. Susanna Clarke's novel, "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell" (Audio Renaissance), recorded footnotes.
17. There is a great New York Times piece on the challenges of footnotes and endnotes (and pictures and maps) in audiobooks***
18. The same New York Times piece has a great quote from DFW in reference to his endnotes: "Most poetry is written to ride on the breath, and getting to hear the poet read it is kind of a revelation and makes the poetry more alive. But with certain literary narrative writers like me, we want the writing to sound like a brain voice, like the sound of the voice inside of the head, and the brain voice is faster, is absent any breath, and it holds together grammatically rather than sonically."
19. Claudia Howard, in the same New York Times piece argues that an "audiobook is a monologue that should be kept intact".
20. Another part of the New York Times article referenced above in note 17, "So single-minded is Mr. Wallace, who is 43, about how his work looks over how it sounds that at his first public reading in the late 1980's, 'I inserted the punctuation,' he recalled, adding: 'I would read a clause and say 'comma' or 'semicolon.' Or I'd say, 'new paragraph' and 'indent.' Now looking back at it I can see what a silent deal this is for me.' At one point in 'Consider the Lobster,' Mr. Wallace encounters an ellipsis and reads "dot, dot, dot," which producers say is verboten. "Part of it is I'm not an actor and I don't know how to trail off, and I become somewhat autistic about it," he said."
21. There is a great example in this piece showing how DFW handled endnotes/footnotes.****
22. Cutting the Endnotes disrespects notes 23, 24, and 25.
23. Work
24. Author
25. Reader

** see same link above

message 68: by j (last edited Apr 11, 2012 08:44AM) (new)

j (joeleoj) | 208 comments awesome breakdown rob! very amusing. and sad. i wish they had gone for the phone filter option (or a different reader), and inserted a chapter skip after each one, so the non-hardcore crowd could simply skip past them if desired.

(i can imagine getting confused if, say, my entire listening session during my commute to work consisted of one lengthy footnote, but no one ever said DFW was an easy writer.)

message 69: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth Hilarious, Rob! You have some great DFW quotes in there. Thanks for sharing! It's too bad that Audible abridged your comments about their abridgement!

Your post reminded me of a letter from DFW to Harper's magazine:
"...I will find a way to harm you or cause you suffering* if you fuck with the mechanics of the piece."

For the full letter, with footnote...

Darwin8u | 34 comments Well, my Infinite Jest review just got yanked off Audible.

message 71: by j (new)

j (joeleoj) | 208 comments maybe they are concluding that the presentation is unabridged because you are given the footnotes as a PDF.

message 72: by Christine (new)

Christine  (Chrizzle) | 26 comments Will you marry me, Rob? Or at least post your full review plus the wonderful endnotes somewhere on the web where it can be shared as widely as it deserves to be?

Darwin8u | 34 comments They finally reposted them on Audible but stripped out the links (but only after I showed them a) how much I spent the last 12 months in Audible membership fees/$234.35, b) I showed them how much I purchased beyond my membership fees/$562.57 [ugh, really?] c) cancelled my membership, d) copied J Bezos D Katz, and e) threatened self-immolation).

Sorry Christina E., even though I am an AZ Mormon I'm NOT that kinda AZ Mormon, but we can certainly be friends with Goodreads benefits.

message 74: by j (new)

j (joeleoj) | 208 comments Rob wrote: "a) how much I spent the last 12 months in Audible membership fees/$234.35, b) I showed them how much I purchased beyond my membership fees/$562.57"

the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem...

message 75: by Christine (new)

Christine  (Chrizzle) | 26 comments I don't even want to know how much I've spent on Audible in the last year. Fine, Rob, let's just be Goodreads Friends. My husband might be annoyed if I suddenly announced my engagement to you.

message 76: by Becky (new) - rated it 1 star

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 19 comments It's good to know other people spend a lot of money at Audible - I've purchased at least 2 platinum memberships in the last year. (maybe 3 since I go through the 24 or 25 credits in about 5 months) And I shop the sales, too. (sigh) - Let me check - Yup - lots of money over there.

I've been a member since mid 2003.

David Brooke | 17 comments Joel wrote: "maybe they are concluding that the presentation is unabridged because you are given the footnotes as a PDF."

I agree with this statement. Makes sense to me.

David Brooke | 17 comments Rob wrote: "They finally reposted them on Audible but stripped out the links (but only after I showed them a) how much I spent the last 12 months in Audible membership fees/$234.35, b) I showed them how much I..."

Cancelled your membership? It's not audibles fault the footnotes aren't recorded.

message 79: by j (new)

j (joeleoj) | 208 comments i got the impression he cancelled because they deleted his negative review.

message 80: by Darwin8u (last edited Apr 13, 2012 11:40AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Darwin8u | 34 comments Joel is right. I canceled after asking twice over the phone why my review was canceled thrice. First answer was technical difficulties, which wasn't reasonable since I submitted 4 other reviews within the same timeframe (none were immediately deleted or rejected). The second call they said they often delete offensive reviews (I asked specifically WHAT was offensive). I then got an email asking if I received exceptional customer service from them. HA. So I wrote a tome saying essentially no; explaining I was irritated that they had removed my review twice and rejected it once and telling them I would cancel my membership if they couldn't tell me adequately why they had removed the review. I got an email back saying ... this book is Unabridged b/c the footnotes are included as a PDF. I responded 'fine, but that doesn't answer my question, thank you.' My review was about my opinion that it wasn't 'technically' unabridged, yadda yadda, but that wasn't my REAL beef. I was irritated that they removed my review AND ratings. Finally, I got a response (after copying my second email to J. Bezos and Katz) that they were sorry they removed and rejected my review because I had included a link in it (technically three links) and that is against their policy, but they would put it back up and, ah yes, abridge out my links (which I only included because I was trying to cite quotes that weren't mine and it allowed me to include endnotes on my endnotes).

Darwin8u | 34 comments I don't know how long I will stay aloof from Audible. I was trying to create a financial consequence.

David Brooke | 17 comments Any chance you'll still listen to the abridged Infinite Jest Rob?

message 83: by Darwin8u (last edited Apr 13, 2012 09:13AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Darwin8u | 34 comments Sure, I bought it, downloaded and already listened to some of it. I wouldn't rate it unless I purchased it.

Darwin8u | 34 comments Joel wrote: "maybe they are concluding that the presentation is unabridged because you are given the footnotes as a PDF."

Here is my quick response to that Joel. Let's use the godfather of nontraditional, hypertext novels Pale Fire as an example.

'Pale Fire' the novel contains aprox:
20 pages for the foreward
36 pages for the poem "Pale Fire"
228 pages for the commentary
10 pages for the index

Would it be correct or accurate for Hachette or Audible or whoever to list 'Pale Fire' the audiobook as unabridged if they only recorded the 36 pages of the poem, but provided gratis the foreward, the commentary and the index in an attached complementary PDF and claimed it is an 'unabridged presentation' of 'Pale Fire'?

If I wanted the textual presentation I would ... wait for it ... READ the novel (which I've got littered all over my home and office already).

I know I am ABSOLUTELY splitting hairs, but THAT is kinda the whole F+ing point of the footnotes isn't it? Infinite Jest is a novel with all kinds of hairsplitting, asides and difficulties galore.

message 85: by j (new)

j (joeleoj) | 208 comments well yeah. i agree. that's why i probably won't download this one. not worth my 2 credits.

Darwin8u | 34 comments Email from Audible' VP:

I just reviewed your email below.  I want to first apologize for your frustrating experience regarding this title and your review.  You are a valued customer and we want you to continue enjoying Audible.  I looked into your issue and worked with our ratings and reviews team to understand the process.  I completely agree, when a review is removed you should receive an explanation.  I am having this group evaluate the process required to make this happen.  Regarding the endnotes for this title, we had a conversation with the publisher who stated they worked very closely with David’s wife/agent who agreed to the end notes being included in a PDF.  The publisher was concerned with the amount of endnotes adding to the length of the audiobook and thereby increasing the price.  Therefore, due to this agreement between the publisher and the author’s wife we added the title to our store with the PDF. 
Again, I apologize for the confusion and lack of communication.  If there is anything further I can assist with please let me know.

David Brooke | 17 comments Nice letter there. Thanks for posting rob.

Darwin8u | 34 comments So, they put it back up for about 10 hours and 17 helpful votes later they yank it AGAIN.

message 89: by Chris (last edited Apr 14, 2012 01:52PM) (new) - added it

Chris Nicholson | 50 comments Rob,

I totally disagree with you. DFW's purpose in including many of the endnotes as endnotes was to to force the reader to move back and forth between the two, to interrupt the flow of the narrative.

Now, given I listen on my iPhone, what that means for me is that I have to pick up the device, switch apps, read the footnote, and then switch back. For someone listening in the car, this would be both inconvenient and, likely, dangerous.

For my purposes, it seems, based on what i've learned about how he wanted the reader to feel during the process, to be almost exactly what DFW was aiming for.

Darwin8u | 34 comments I think DFW fully intended an audio/PDF car experience. 'This is Traffic'.

message 91: by Chris (new) - added it

Chris Nicholson | 50 comments So what are you complaining about ;-p

message 92: by Joe (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joe | 1 comments This audio book, endnotes or not, is fantastic. The narrator absolutely nailed the tone. I'm thankful there are still those working on putting out complex and adult literary listens in this environment of werewolf/zombie/vampire YA fiction that has taken over the world of letters.

message 93: by Darwin8u (last edited Apr 16, 2012 08:02AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Darwin8u | 34 comments Chris wrote: "So what are you complaining about ;-p"

Me complain? I think I had already moved deep into the kvetch zone.

I also don't think we totally disagree. I think we agree (whether we are correct is a different story) about why DFW might have included endnotes in the first place. I think our disagreement stems from whether this presentation is what he was aiming for. Earlier DFW books (made into audiobooks while he was alive) suggest the answer isn't clean or clear (certain books were abridged, certain books contained endnotes). I'm not sure either you or I can be certain this audio presentation is 'exactly what DFW was aiming for'.

All I can say with any CERTAINTY is I am disappointed the audio-version was abridged of the endnotes (and presented as unabridged). My more recent beef, is ALL with Audible for not allowing me to beef.*

* As of 4/16 in the am, the review is back up.

message 94: by Sean (new)

Sean Pratt | 17 comments Just wanted to share with you all the amount of work that went into this project. -

Darwin8u | 34 comments @Sean, a little off topic, but I've got to say your voice is money at 1.5x and 2x narration speed.

message 96: by Sean (new)

Sean Pratt | 17 comments :-)

message 97: by D.H. (new)

D.H. Sayer | 1 comments Mr. Pratt,

I just want to be what seems to be the dissenting voice in all those weighing in on the IJ audiobook and say that I think you did a masterful job and that the end product is something of a treasure. The voices you create for the characters are great and in the (rare) cases when they didn't align with the sounds in my imagination, your interpretations were at least interesting and gave me something to think about. Sure, there are no endnotes, but I think Mr. Wallace himself would've said that note 24 (James O. Incandenza's Filmography) was NOT meant to be read aloud and would've in fact been kind of torturous to listen to. Besides, I always took the view that if there ever was an audiobook, it'd be for the hardcore fans that had already read the book (and probably multiple times); I can't imagine one's first experience with IJ being a purely auditory one.

Now, I have a very specific, hardcore fan-type of question. I've long contended that despite IJ being a very carefully written novel, there are some unintentional errors in it. Specifically, there is a subject-verb agreement problem on page 95 ("Michael Pemulis, who can stand about ten seconds of communal silence tops, CLEAR his throat deeply..." (emphasis mine)), which you quietly and without comment correct in the audiobook--the right choice, I think.

Listening to the audiobook the other day, I noticed another thing you changed, on page 90, this one from Steeply's dialogue: "A person with no political value to anybody except that the Saudi Ministry of Entertainment made one THE hell of a shrill stink." (emphasis mine) You omitted the "the." I usually say that anything between quotes is permissible, and I maybe would've passed off this particular example as possibly some sort of down-south idiomatic construction I'm not aware of, but ultimately I think you were once again right to make the emendation.

And so this invites the question: can you think of any other changes to the text that were made in the audiobook? I think it'd be fascinating to hear of them, and maybe even provide a little insight into the construction of the book we all love so much.

Catherine Bathrick | 2 comments Sean wrote: "Sorry, Dude. It wasn't my call. Hey, why don't you get a petition started demanding that they have me record them. ;-)"
Just want to say your Sean Pratt's) reading of Infinite Jest is beautiful. I am soooo enjoying it. Thank you Thank you

message 99: by Sean (new)

Sean Pratt | 17 comments D.H. wrote: "Mr. Pratt,

I just want to be what seems to be the dissenting voice in all those weighing in on the IJ audiobook and say that I think you did a masterful job and that the end product is something o..."

Thank you for your kind words....we all worked very hard to make it something special.

I can't think of any other changes like that, offhand. But you should know that I have NEVER narrated a book that didn't have a few editing mistakes; hey, editors are people, too. I can say that, for a book of this length, there were very few.

I think that's because, and this is my opinion here, that Mr. Wallace must have read the book aloud when he was working on it; by "read" I mean "narrated" after a fashion. I can always tell when an author has taken the time to read their work aloud in order to hear what the words sound like. The flow is always better, the tempo is consistent and the words and phrases have a real melody to them. When you narrate a well written book, like I.J., it's like a surfer catching a wave; it just carries you along.

message 100: by David (new) - rated it 4 stars

David Brooke | 17 comments I love it when the narrator adds sound effects like drinking. Really love this recording. Great job Sean.

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Books mentioned in this topic

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The Pale King (other topics)
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