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Infinite Jest
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Archived 2015 Group Reads > Infinite Jest, Week 5 by D.F.Wallace

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message 1: by Zulfiya (new) - added it

Zulfiya (ztrotter) This is the virtual space to discuss part 5.

Things just started to slow down, guys, because today is the first day when I came home after classes and I did not have to wait for someone to assemble the furniture, to check our fire-place or to buy things we need for a new house. There is one bad thing about getting a bigger place - it usually means buying and shopping for furniture and other small things ;-)

I will be posting about part 4 only later today. Well, you are on your own for a while. I promise I will catch up. :-)


Linda | 1381 comments I'm sure you welcome the slow down, Zulfiya. Although getting to buy new furniture is pretty exciting - we've been in our house for 12 years and we STILL have my futon from before we were married. We keep saying "someday...". :)

I'm still have 30 pages left to read for this week, hopefully I can get through most of that tonight.


message 3: by John (last edited Oct 29, 2014 05:05PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

John (johnred) | 364 comments I just finished this section yesterday! :)

We got a ton of backstory this week! In fact it occurred to me that the latest phone call between Hal and Orin could qualify as a classic "infodump" :D

I did not really expect to actually find out how James managed to kill himself with a microwave...but we got a detailed account! He's quite resourceful.

It seems like Orin has attracted the attention of both the wheelchair assassins and Agent Steeply...his remarks about Steeply were pretty hilarious :)

We also met several new friends at the Ennet House. (I've updated the casting call>, lol) The interactions between the residents have some great chemistry and I have come to enjoy them at least as much as the E.T.A. scenes.

Orin's backstory I found a little boring, honestly. But I guess it was important.


John (johnred) | 364 comments Oh, and how about Hal's story about the Grief Counselor? Why did he have tiny hands?? Why was the situation so similar to James' "Conversationalist" interview (I think at one point, Hal actually referred to the counselor as a "professional conversationalist")?


message 5: by Kaycie (new) - added it

Kaycie | 294 comments hi all! im back-ish! I still havent finished the section for this week, so I "la-la-la, I cant see you!" skipped through all of the comments so far!

I just wanted to comment how much I enjoyed the phone conversation between Orin and Hal. I think this section actually saved the book for me...Ive been struggling mightily to pick it up because things were just a bit too slow in clicking.

The conversation just felt so real, like a phone conversation I might have (besides the content, hopefully), that I really got into it. I also felt a huge sense of relief in seeing the explanation of suicide by microwave. It is letting me believe that maybe we dont have to read so into things and speculate so wildly...Wallace is going to walk us through much of this, even if he doesnt do it right away.

And, finally, we start seeing more people come together. This section provides ties to both Joelle and Lyle, who, with the feral hamsters, has been one of the biggest question marks for me in this book.

This section made me super hopeful for the rest of this book. If there is a bit more of this, I can see this books appeal and will make it through just fine!


John (johnred) | 364 comments Kaycie, I totally agree w/ your assessment of the phone call -- it was very "natural" and the character of the two brothers really came through, as well as their relationship -- you could sense the sibling closeness in the banter, yet with some reservation and awkwardness due to Orin's distancing himself from the family.


Linda | 1381 comments Kaycie wrote: "hi all! im back-ish! I still havent finished the section for this week, so I "la-la-la, I cant see you!" skipped through all of the comments so far!"

OK, so I didn't get the last 30 pages read last night, so I'm laughing at this bit, Kaycie. :) I'm too excited to start discussing, though, so I had to read what you wrote.

Yes, I also agree the conversation between Orin and Hal was very brotherly. Since Orin kept asking particular questions about their father's death that Hal could not believe Orin did not know the answer to, I'm surprised that Hal answered all of Orin's questions, I guess he doesn't hold a grudge for Orin's distancing himself?

I was also happy to be let in on the specifics of how the microwave was actually used in that manner, especially after we were confused as to the specifics of how that would work. Now we know, and it was almost a bit too much information for my taste. And then the thought that runs through Hal's mind as he enters the house but before he finds his dad was stomach-turning. I could see where this part was headed, but when Hal finally said what he had though, I was like "eww...did I just read that?!".

The toenail clipping bit was hilarious, it was a humorous contrast to the serious conversation that Hal and Orin were having. And Hal's intensity and thoughts of how not to mess up his percentage of clippings in the can must have been similar to the thoughts and rituals that the tennis players must have while they are on a winning streak.


John (johnred) | 364 comments Linda wrote: "And then the thought that runs through Hal's mind as he enters the house but before he finds his dad was stomach-turning. "

I wonder whether that was true or whether Hal made it up to satisfy the Counselor? It seemed more like the latter to me, or at least it didn't traumatize him as much as he made it seem for the Counselor's benefit.


message 9: by Linda (last edited Oct 30, 2014 12:21PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Linda | 1381 comments John wrote: "I wonder whether that was true or whether Hal made it up to satisfy the Counselor? It seemed more like the latter to me, or at least it didn't traumatize him as much as he made it seem for the Counselor's benefit."

Hmmm...could be, I had not thought of that. Either way it was still a disgusting thought. And it was pretty crazy how Hal had to basically overachieve in order to "pass" his grief counseling sessions.

Oh, what was the deal with the counselor's tiny hands?! Initially I was afraid he was doing something else while hiding his hands under the desk (uh...yeah), especially when Hal noticed the desk rose up on that side at one point. ha ha. But then he ended up having these tiny hands.


message 10: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John (johnred) | 364 comments Yeah, the tiny hands were really bizarre... But then it seems like Hal actually ended up getting the catharsis he needed in his hysterical laughing fit.


Linda | 1381 comments John wrote: "Yeah, the tiny hands were really bizarre... But then it seems like Hal actually ended up getting the catharsis he needed in his hysterical laughing fit."

Maybe the counselor should have just shown Hal his hands at the beginning session and saved them both time. :)


message 12: by John (last edited Oct 30, 2014 12:21PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

John (johnred) | 364 comments I think that Linda and Kaycie may not have finished the Tournament scene yet, so I will put the following observation in spoiler tags for the time being. It's nothing major though.

(view spoiler)


message 13: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John (johnred) | 364 comments And speaking of gruesome -- the flashback with Joelle made me realize that, at some point in the book, we're probably going to have to hear about the acid-flinging. I am kind of dreading that!


message 14: by Rosemary (last edited Oct 31, 2014 05:09AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemary I also appreciated the phone call with Hal and Orin, and I loved the way that Hal overcame the challenge represented by the grief counselor.

There was a little too much sport in this section for me - both tennis and football. I can see it fits, it's just not my favourite thing to read about (or watch).

I loved the Ennet House section. Geoffrey D's question at the beginning of that section about AA logically believing everyone in the world is an alcoholic was funny, but I couldn't see how Don could miss the obvious answer - they're not saying everyone is an alcoholic, they're saying everyone who goes to an AA meeting is an alcoholic, even if they deny it; non-alcoholics exist, but they don't go to AA meetings.

Re Joelle, I started to wonder whether in fact her veil was simply hiding her extraordinary beauty, that made people frightened to approach her. But I know there are these references to acid. It just seemed she wasn't much better off when she was beautiful, which is sad.

Something I love in the style of this book is the way he writes "..." in dialogue when somebody doesn't answer/has no answer/whatever. I don't know why I like this so much - it just seems very cute and expressive to me. It's something more than a pause - the quote marks make it a particular person's non-speech.


Rosemary Linda wrote: "The toenail clipping bit was hilarious, it was a humorous contrast to the serious conversation that Hal and Orin were having."

It just struck me there's also a toenail clipping bit in the Ennet House section - Don realises what he thought were fingernail clippings are actually toenails, and it's an issue because residents are not supposed to bare their feet downstairs. Just another example of one section mirroring another.


message 16: by John (last edited Oct 31, 2014 07:01AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

John (johnred) | 364 comments Rosemary wrote: "There was a little too much sport in this section for me - both tennis and football. I can see it fits, it's just not my favourite thing to read about (or watch)."

I didn't mind the tennis, because the narrative in that section seemed richer -- it was not as much about the tennis as about the experience of the tournament, and the relationships between the players (Pemulis and Schact particularly). The football section, I agree, was quite a bit drier. It is obvious where DFW's passion lies.

Rosemary wrote: "they're not saying everyone is an alcoholic, they're saying everyone who goes to an AA meeting is an alcoholic, even if they deny it; non-alcoholics exist, but they don't go to AA meetings."

But you don't have to go to an AA meeting to answer the question "am I an addict?" and if your answer to that question is no, then you are, by definition, denying it. Ergo, you are in denial.

It may not be the soundest logic in the world but I agree it made for a funny exchange :)


Linda | 1381 comments Rosemary wrote: "It just struck me there's also a toenail clipping bit in the Ennet House section - Don realises what he thought were fingernail clippings are actually toenails..."

Yes, I just read this section this morning! I laughed at the observation that the toenails were an "autumnal color".

Re Joelle, I started to wonder whether in fact her veil was simply hiding her extraordinary beauty, that made people frightened to approach her.

This is what I had initially thought too, but the acid incident must play a role. It will be interesting to learn more about Joelle.

The tennis section - I liked the comparison to the gladiators and lions and how the dug-out indoor courts and behind-the-scenes paths were like that of the Colosseum.


message 18: by Kaycie (new) - added it

Kaycie | 294 comments John wrote: "I think that Linda and Kaycie may not have finished the Tournament scene yet, so I will put the following observation in spoiler tags for the time being. It's nothing major though.

[spoilers removed]"


I agree, John. I think Wallace captured all of this really well, and I really liked his descriptions of everything to do with the matches.

Rosemary wrote: "Something I love in the style of this book is the way he writes "...""

Agreed! They give the conversation a depth that makes it feel so much more real!

Overall, this section felt a bit long, and there was lots of information there, but it all seems pretty straightforward to me. Nothing really earth-shattering and nothing super controversial. I am just very glad to see things are starting to come together.


message 19: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John (johnred) | 364 comments Oh hey - slightly off topic, but am I mistaken in thinking that the next section ends on page 321? Isn't that only 22 pages? Just want to make sure I'm not miscalculating.


message 20: by Linda (last edited Oct 31, 2014 01:40PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Linda | 1381 comments John wrote: "Oh hey - slightly off topic, but am I mistaken in thinking that the next section ends on page 321? Isn't that only 22 pages? Just want to make sure I'm not miscalculating."

It looks like there are two chapters with the exact same title. I had my next section marked to end on page 343.


message 21: by Kaycie (new) - added it

Kaycie | 294 comments I have also marked 343.

While we are at it...there is a section oh... the week after next I think, I cant remember, where in the reading list it just says "YDAU" with no date. Is that a mistake in the schedule? I don't see any chapters with only the year.


Linda | 1381 comments Kaycie wrote: "it just says "YDAU" with no date. Is that a mistake in the schedule? I don't see any chapters with only the year."

That one is on page 442.


message 23: by Kaycie (new) - added it

Kaycie | 294 comments Linda wrote: "That one is on page 442."

Great, thanks!

John wrote: "And speaking of gruesome -- the flashback with Joelle made me realize that, at some point in the book, we're probably going to have to hear about the acid-flinging. I am kind of dreading that!"

I bet this is right...we are going to hear this story in gruesome detail... There is even more hinting at this than at himself's suicide.


message 24: by Ami (last edited Nov 05, 2014 03:29PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ami Linda wrote: "John wrote: "I wonder whether that was true or whether Hal made it up to satisfy the Counselor? It seemed more like the latter to me, or at least it didn't traumatize him as much as he made it seem..."

I laughed in shock when I read 'That something smelled delicious' remark by Hal. I know most of you consider the acid throwing scene to be gruesome, but I thought this incident took the cake...Said in jest, or not. That line is up there with Urine Trouble? Urine Luck...Absolutely scary funny!

I'm not sure what to make of this conversation, quite honestly, because when Orin called two days prior to this conversation, Hal was noted as saying 60% of what he told Orin was a lie since Orin had abruptly started calling again this spring (136). As absurd as it sounds, I think there was a little bit of truth to what Hal said...Just a little bit.

Orin seems to have fallen off the radar with his family with his sudden interest after four years 216 days, and with two years of that not even once even calling in Dads' death (249)? Granted, he chalks it off because of the interview with Moment magazine, but I think there's more to his absence.

Orin and Mario

We've mentioned a possible situation between these two brothers from an instance where Mario was told whoever (Orin) was on the phone with Hal was no one you know, I don't think (33) and now another odd exchange in reference to Mario between Hal and Orin this time:

Mario might know. Like to chew the fat with Booboo on this, O?

Don't make this like this Hallie... (247)

I wonder why one cannot know the other, or why they do not speak with each other?



message 25: by Ami (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ami Linda wrote: "John wrote: "I wonder whether that was true or whether Hal made it up to satisfy the Counselor? It seemed more like the latter to me, or at least it didn't traumatize him as much as he made it seem..."

On page 16, Hal actually makes reference to the hypophalangial Grief-Therapist while he's reminiscing on the gurney.


Linda | 1381 comments Ami wrote: "On page 16, Hal actually makes reference to the hypophalangial Grief-Therapist while he's reminiscing on the gurney."

!! Do you have a photographic memory, Ami?! :)


Linda | 1381 comments Ami wrote: "I laughed in shock when I read 'That something smelled delicious' remark by Hal. I know most of you consider the acid throwing scene to be gruesome, but I thought this incident took the cake"

Yes!! I totally agree. I knew what was coming and was disgusted, but at the same time when he actually said it, I was laughing, while being disgusted at the same time. I know I shouldn't laugh at this but....


Ami: Orin and Mario

We've mentioned a possible situation between these two brothers from an instance where Mario was told whoever (Orin) was on the phone with Hal was no one you know, I don't think (33)

Don't make this like this Hallie... (247)

I wonder why one cannot know the other, or why they do not speak with each other?


Good observation linking those two incidents. I don't think we've seen them converse at all yet.


message 28: by John (last edited Nov 05, 2014 03:55PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

John (johnred) | 364 comments Linda wrote: "Ami wrote: "I laughed in shock when I read 'That something smelled delicious' remark by Hal. I know most of you consider the acid throwing scene to be gruesome, but I thought this incident took the..."

During Joelle's story, there is a part where she says that she had never met Mario because Orin had disliked him...or something like that? I'm almost sure she mentioned Orin disliking Mario.


message 29: by Ami (last edited Nov 05, 2014 04:54PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ami Linda wrote: "Ami wrote: "On page 16, Hal actually makes reference to the hypophalangial Grief-Therapist while he's reminiscing on the gurney."

!! Do you have a photographic memory, Ami?! :)"


I remember feeling the whole story was given to me on a platter in the 1st week's reading and everything else was just filler. It all comes back to it will be an inversion of standard travel...I'll make the journey first, then depart for me. After a second read through I took detailed notes of the first section...

I think you would need more than a photographic memory to attack this novel successfully! In the beginning it was a little cumbersome because there wasn't much rhyme or reason; but have a trend and rhythm to the characters now, so grouping the details becomes... "less cumbersome?!"


message 30: by Zulfiya (last edited Nov 12, 2014 08:24PM) (new) - added it

Zulfiya (ztrotter) I read just the first part of this week's selection, and I am surprised how revealing the conversation between Hal and his Orin. Possibly, this has been the most revealing and honest part of the novel.

Our thoughts about Mr. Incadenza's deaths were confirmed by a personal account of his son who was the first one who discovered his body. The descriptions were deliberately made light-hearted in the dialogue between his two sons, but in fact they conceal so much pain, shock, and stress that even Hal's semi-facetious tone can not conceal what he went through. The boys also openly talk about what we were speculating about. It is as if Wallace was testing our ability to find the clues in expositions and descriptions, and now he is saying, 'Guys, I hope you can confirm all your suspicions, deductions, assumptions or reject them'. Now back to reading business.


Ami, I would say it is becoming less overwhelming and more manageable:-)


message 31: by Zulfiya (new) - added it

Zulfiya (ztrotter) Kaycie wrote: The conversation just felt so real, like a phone conversation I might have (besides the content, hopefully), that I really got into it. I also felt a huge sense of relief in seeing the explanation of suicide by microwave. It is letting me believe that maybe we dont have to read so into things and speculate so wildly...Wallace is going to walk us through much of this, even if he doesnt do it right away."


It did feel so real - it was possibly the most 'flowable' passage in the novel. It sounded realistic, believable, but also it aroused feelings of compassion, curiosity, disgust (toe nail clipping), and let us be honest - the allusions to the decomposition and reconstruction of the body were quite disquieting.

Surprisingly, decomposition and reconstruction are the terms used by linguists and philologists who discuss the origin of a fictional text, its different layers, authorial intention, reader's choice to interpret and understand of a literary text, etc. Basically, this is what we are doing here - finding a way out of this literary labyrinth by decomposing and reconstructing this piece de resistance.


message 32: by Zulfiya (new) - added it

Zulfiya (ztrotter) Finished reading this week's selection last night, and I have dubious feelings about it. As I mentioned in my earlier posts, the conversation between the two brothers is possibly the most flowable, the most relatable, and the most revealing so far in the novel. It shows the drama, the tragedy, and the comical in the life of people.

As for the tennis tournament description, I really appreciate that Wallace can do it well and with the number of insights into this professional sport, but possibly this was the moment when I felt too detached from this part.

I also enjoyed the scenes from the AA society. They offer an immense insight into the minds and lives of people with addiction.

As for Joelle, it seems like her story defies our expectations. First, we suspect that she is disfigured, but then we learn that her beauty overwhelms many and mostly intimidates and keeps men at bay. At the same time, I still keep in mind the allusion to acid. So I am sure this story was just a teaser, and more will be revealed later in the novel. It seems like DFW is really fond of literary red herrings.


message 33: by Ami (last edited Nov 18, 2014 01:01PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ami Linda wrote: "Rosemary wrote: "It just struck me there's also a toenail clipping bit in the Ennet House section - Don realises what he thought were fingernail clippings are actually toenails..."

Yes, I just rea..."


...The tennis section & Schacht

I liked this section too, but more so because of Teddy Schacht's insight into both Hal and Pemulis' drug use and its effect on their play. He was very in tune to them both questioning why Pemulis makes such a big deal of stopping all substances the day before competitive play but never connects the neurasthenic stomach to any kind of withdrawal or dependence since Pemulis is always so sick before a game; and how Hal's erumpent explosion up the rankings has got to be a temporary thing attributed to his substance compulsion (267,270).

I'm not sure if I found it endearing of Schacht, or a little condescending when he says he is sad for Hal and his inevitable demise in tennis... that there is like a psychic credit-card bill for Hal in the mail, somewhere, coming, and is sad for him in advance about whatever's surely got to give, eventually (270).


John Wayne...Spoiler in reference to FN 304 redirected from FN 45

He's from an asbestos mining town in Quebec where his father is the most seniorest guy on his shift holding on until John Wayne can start making some serious $ ...(view spoiler) This guy seems to be the most together out of all the kids at E.T.A, doesn't he?


message 34: by Ami (last edited Nov 18, 2014 10:10AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ami Linda wrote: "Rosemary wrote: "It just struck me there's also a toenail clipping bit in the Ennet House section - Don realises what he thought were fingernail clippings are actually toenails..."

Yes, I just rea..."


Ennet House and Autumnal Toenails

Well, I've found another favorite character in Geoffrey Day, could he be the narrator on page 180...So this purports to be a disease, alcholism? I'm torn about his recovery process. While I love the way this man's mind works, how he's not a feckless follower and questions the program, I can also see his ideologies prevent him from surrendering to the program making it difficult to begin the recovery process (FN 90, 1002).

I loved the exchange between Gately and Day, in footnote 90, where Day sheds light onto the logic behind AA and proposes if you "deny" that you have a substance problem, why then you're by definition in "Denial," and thus you apparently need the Denial-busting Fellowship of AA even more than someone who can admit this problem. It's sad to say, but Day definitely has a point, he makes so many great points... I wonder if he's really frightened about being led down a path he finds many faults in, or he's not ready for the process and making excuses? I know Gately perceives it as an excuse, but my god, Day makes such a viable case!

In all sincerity, I think Day completely swindled me...The Grateful "Heart" is a prime example (271). It's clever...But, it's an excuse.

Burt F. Smith

How terrible is this man's situation...Mugged and beaten half to death in Cambridge on Xmas Eve of last year, left there half to death to freeze to death, and ended up losing his hands and feet (275)? Seems like this was the doing of Poor Tony and his crew...Could Burt be the drunk man who stifed the Santaclaus and then continued on his way walking up Mass Ave toward the Central Squar on foot (130)?


message 35: by Ami (last edited Nov 18, 2014 12:25AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ami Linda wrote: "Rosemary wrote: "It just struck me there's also a toenail clipping bit in the Ennet House section - Don realises what he thought were fingernail clippings are actually toenails..."

Yes, I just rea..."


It will be interesting to learn more about Joelle.

I couldn't help but feel such sadness for both Orin (I don't even like Orin) and Joelle while reading about the genesis of their relationship; especially after how Wallace leaves things with Joelle in the previous section. The insight into her life was so heavy, I'll admit, I failed to realize Joelle had a different existence prior to her addiction riddled lifestyle. She was a normal college kid, a baton twirler in the Pep Squad, bright eyed and happy. And then I thought...Well, why wouldn't she have been all these things?

Orin Incandenza

In a Brookline bar, an ex USMC flier peddling petroleum jelly is found discussing Orin's first public punt against Syracuse, where Orin had a book-long of 73 yards that day, and an average hang of eight-point-something seconds.... Is this the same watering hole Hal frequents listening to stories about the Ennet House schizophrenics (294-95)?

If so, is Hal the one who discussed Orin's achievement on the radio show Those Were the Legends That Formerly Were in the voice of a cartoon character...It was against Sywacuse, what, eight seasons back. The little son of a bitch had a long of seventy-thwee that day and a avewage of sixty-fwigging-nine. "Seventy-thwee" for Chwist's sake (181)?

During the show, this person also says ...we's down at t'pub that night Wonnie ... Wonnie, the twoop-leadawhateva, petwoleum jelly salesman outa Bwookline, Wonnie's a retired pilot from the Sewvice (181).

Whoever was taking part in the radio show was also present at the Brookline watering hole with Ronnie, the ex USMC pilot petroleum jelly salesman.


Linda | 1381 comments Ami wrote: "I'll admit, I failed to realize Joelle had a different existence prior to her addiction riddled lifestyle. She was a normal college kid, a baton twirler in the Pep Squad, bright eyed and happy. And then I thought...Well, why wouldn't she have been all these things?"

I thought the exact same thing, Ami. I was surprised to find out that we were learning who Joelle had been as Orin was on the football field, it took me by surprise that she had been "normal" at one time.


Linda | 1381 comments Ami wrote: "During the show, this person also says ...we's down at t'pub that night Wonnie ... Wonnie, the twoop-leadawhateva, petwoleum jelly salesman outa Bwookline, Wonnie's a retired pilot from the Sewvice (181).

Whoever was taking part in the radio show was also present at the Brookline watering hole with Ronnie, the ex USMC pilot petroleum jelly salesman."


Week 5 is going way back for me in this read. I can see why people need a reread of this book after they are done. This part is only vaguely familiar.

Ami wrote: He's [John Wayne] from an asbestos mining town in Quebec where his father is the most seniorest guy on his shift holding on until John Wayne can start making some serious $ ...This automatically made me think about the terrorist groups that originated in these mining towns.

I also don't remember the reference to the terrorist groups being from the mining towns, thanks for pointing that out in connection to John Wayne.


Linda | 1381 comments Ami wrote: "I loved the exchange between Gately and Day, in footnote 90, where Day sheds light onto the logic behind AA and proposes if you "deny" that you have a substance problem, why then you're by definition in "Denial," and thus you apparently need the Denial-busting Fellowship of AA even more than someone who can admit this problem. It's sad to say, but Day definitely has a point, he makes so many great points... I wonder if he's really frightened about being led down a path he finds many faults in, or he's not ready for the process and making excuses? I know Gately perceives it as an excuse, but my god, Day makes such a viable case!"

I agree on all points. And I also loved this exchange between Gately and Day.


message 39: by Ami (last edited Nov 20, 2014 10:07AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ami Linda wrote: "Ami wrote: "During the show, this person also says ...we's down at t'pub that night Wonnie ... Wonnie, the twoop-leadawhateva, petwoleum jelly salesman outa Bwookline, Wonnie's a retired pilot from..."

Well, I only thought it because he's one of the very few at ETA who did not come from a background of means, his father is mentioned to be a man not to be f---ed with...It all seemed a little "frayed edged" to me (260). John Wayne is a real stand up guy on and off the court, I think. Out of all Hal's friends, Canada's John ('No Relation') Wayne is the only one Avril speaks to animatedly, which also says a lot for John Wayne's character (192).

(view spoiler) FN 304, 1056...reference to FN 45,108


Linda | 1381 comments Ami wrote: "The asbestos mining reference was brought up in the essay Jim Struck plagiarized about The A.F.R. in FN 304, 1056"

Oh, I haven't read that footnote yet so that's why it didn't sound familiar. :)


message 41: by Ami (last edited Nov 18, 2014 12:43PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ami Linda wrote: "Ami wrote: "The asbestos mining reference was brought up in the essay Jim Struck plagiarized about The A.F.R. in FN 304, 1056"

Oh, I haven't read that footnote yet so that's why it didn't sound fa..."


Linda, I'm sorry, I thought you were reading the footnotes along with the narrative. Maybe I confused you in giving you the final footnote instead of the original. 304 was in reference to footnote 45 in W2's reading discussing Marathe's victory over the train that had taken his legs (108). I'll edit my original post.


Linda | 1381 comments Ami wrote: "Linda, I'm sorry, I thought you were reading the footnotes along with the narrative. Maybe I confused you in giving you the final footnote instead of the original. 304 was in reference to footnote 45"

Oh, no worries at all. No need to edit the post, I don't think, at least from my viewpoint. I had decided to read FN 304 when I came to it, instead of when it was referenced within the other footnote.


message 43: by Ami (last edited Nov 18, 2014 12:59PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ami Linda wrote: "Ami wrote: "Linda, I'm sorry, I thought you were reading the footnotes along with the narrative. Maybe I confused you in giving you the final footnote instead of the original. 304 was in reference ..."

Well, that's an interesting approach...It didn't even dawn on me to wait. I remember reaching 45 and then directed to 304, so I went ahead and read it.? It's like we're reading one of those "choose your own adventure" books...Remember those? Does that mean I should want to read it again when we come to it because I really don't. LoL...How odd!


Linda | 1381 comments Ami wrote: "It didn't even dawn on me to wait. I remember reaching 45 and then directed to 304, so I went ahead and read it.? It's like we're reading one of those "choose your own adventure" books...Remember those?"

Ha ha! And I had the opposite reaction, "why would I read FN 304 when we are only on FN 45? It must be numbered FN 304 for a reason, so I should wait until I actually come to that part".

And I LOVED the choose your own adventure books, I devoured all the them when I was younger, and I have recently introduced them to my 8 year old son. :)


message 45: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John (johnred) | 364 comments Linda wrote: "And I had the opposite reaction, "why would I read FN 304 when we are only on FN 45? It must be numbered FN 304 for a reason, so I should wait until I actually come to that part". "

I did the same thing -- I figured we would understand the reference in 45 when we got to 304, so I didn't skip ahead.


message 46: by Ami (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ami John wrote: "Linda wrote: "And I had the opposite reaction, "why would I read FN 304 when we are only on FN 45? It must be numbered FN 304 for a reason, so I should wait until I actually come to that part". "

..."

But we're asked to read it after 45. 304, obviously applies to both instances, I wonder what the point of reading it twice would be?


Rosemary Well, I used to read every possible scenario in those choose your own adventure books, often in page number order which made no sense at all in terms of plot, so I could certainly imagine reading it twice, although I imagine I will skim through it fast the second time :)


message 48: by Zulfiya (new) - added it

Zulfiya (ztrotter) I should confess I did like Linda and John did, but it looks like I will have to read it and be on par with Ami and her post. Besides, if it referred us to this reference, I do not think it can be called a spoiler.

I am telling you. Sometimes, I feel like we can read this book like we read Ulysses when I was a student - opened the novel at any page and read passages if they flowed. It helped. Eventually, one reads the whole novel, but he or she also reads and re-reads a lot of the same material, but it is useful.

I am also wondering whether the second reading for this novel will be more intellectually nourishing and 'palatable' because you already know what to anticipate :-)


message 49: by Ami (last edited Nov 20, 2014 10:04AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ami Zulfiya wrote: "I should confess I did like Linda and John did, but it looks like I will have to read it and be on par with Ami and her post. Besides, if it referred us to this reference, I do not think it can be ..."

I agree with you because it does refer us to the reference...Perhaps, as Rosemary said a "skimming" of the section will be in order once we reach FN 304 in the narrative.

I am also wondering whether the second reading for this novel will be more intellectually nourishing and 'palatable' because you already know what to anticipate

I'm looking forward to this, actually...I think it will be "more intellectually nourishing."


message 50: by Nicola (last edited Dec 29, 2014 02:26AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nicola | 522 comments Hi! Again no set questions for this section so I’ll just info dump.

This bit started well with a great phone call between Orin and Hal. This bit seemed to typify for me the whole of Infinite Jest. Ostensibly rambling and chaotic but in reality extremely purposeful and pointed. Also extremely funny while dealing with the most horrific things. Hals comment of ‘you really put the small r in romance’ had me in stitches, it was just so perfectly delivered at exactly the right moment in the conversation.

Lots of detail about Himself’s death according to the man on the scene Hal, and what a total mindf**k that must have been. The conversation all leading up to the ‘mmm, that smells delicious’. OMG!

One thought though; how much of it is/was true? He really didn’t want to talk about it, the avoidance technique was genius and another little humorous gem.

I found Orins story and his huge crush on Joelle interesting, it looks like he wasn’t always a total manwhore. Things obviously changed at some point, perhaps to the acid attack that has been referenced a few times or it might be connected with the family rupture. There were definite allusions to his dislike and jealousy of CT and his moving on his mother. So far Orin is shaping up to be more of a Hamlet than Hal if we are looking for connections.

One thing though, if he stayed away for so long what did he do in the interval and what was the catalyst for making him get back in touch even if it’s so far just to Hal as it seems to be?

Also, keeping on the topic of Hal, is his talent being overly supported by drugs? That does seem to be the impression picked up from the thoughts of Schacht who intimates that at some point the bill is going to arrive and Hal won’t be able to pay…

Oh and Pemulis's reprehensible way of winning had me laughing out loud (on the train again). I clearly am sadly lacking in moral fibre myself.

Some wonderful scenes from Ennet House, and for my own personal satisfaction I finally got to put a name to my addict lawyer. At least I presume that was him.

A nice bunch of crazies percolating away.

One other thought I had was of the 10 second clips Joelle made which Orin kept obsessively going over and over and over. Getting an erection! Is Orin just the most obsessively narcissistic guy on the planet or is this a hint as to the hypnotic quality of her work that we see come to ultimate fruition in Infinite Jest?

Also, no big surprise but Orin knew of Joelle’s ‘stage’ name so once again I’m left wondering if the rest of the family actually knows who she is or not?


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