Dan's Reviews > Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
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's review
Jan 02, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: literature, read-in-2009, re-read, read-in-2012, e-book
Read in July, 2012 , read count: 2

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.

More later...
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Quotes Dan Liked

David Foster Wallace
“The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.”
David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

Reading Progress

03/11/2009 page 10
0.92% "Only 1068 to go! So far I have only had to look up one word (wen)."
03/14/2009 page 88
8.09% "still holding my interest." 1 comment
03/15/2009 page 88
8.09% "assassins des fauteuils rollents!!" 5 comments
03/16/2009 page 130
11.95% "I am having a hard time with the parts written in ghetto speak. I hope that it ends up going somewhere." 4 comments
03/21/2009 page 211
19.39% "I don't know how a book this long manages to be as entertaining as it is. Also I seem to be missing the comic-ness of it."
03/22/2009 page 258
23.71% "I laughed out loud for a sustained period of time due to the events on page 256."
03/24/2009 page 305
28.03% "good stuff."
03/27/2009 page 345
31.71% "the game of Eschaton ensues, hilarity results."
03/29/2009 page 415
38.14% "still enjoying it."
04/09/2009 page 650
59.74% "wow."
04/14/2009 page 702
64.52% "I am surprised that this book continues to get better and better."
04/25/2009 page 920
84.56% "The home stretch!" 2 comments
04/07/2012 page 1
0.0% "Once again, we meet at last... It's been three years, almost to the day, since I finished this book. Seems as good of a time as any to reread it."
04/09/2012 page 50
5.0% "So far it's even better than the first time. Though I'm still looking up a lot of words."
04/12/2012 page 105
10.0% ""John Wayne, as do most Canadians, lifts one leg slightly to fart, like the fart was some kind of task..." 6 comments
04/21/2012 page 256
24.0% "I forgot how brilliant the the toenail clipping and grief counsellor phone call between Orin and Hal was."
04/28/2012 page 306
28.0% "After a couple of biblio-detours I'm back to IJ. 300 pages and 100 endnotes in. This book really is phenomenal, really."
05/13/2012 page 438
41.0% "Onward!"
06/16/2012 page 601
56.0% "Gearing up for the rumble!"
07/17/2012 page 787
73.0% "I've got two more days to finish this before my somewhat arbitrary goal of finishing this book before vacation arrives passes. Ready. Set. GO!"
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Shel (new) - added it

Shel Only what, 1000 pages to go?

message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Nah, only about 700. I have been slowed considerably because I am working on a presentation for an interview for a college in NY>

message 3: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Very true, it was my least favorite building.

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