Infinite Jest

By David Foster Wallace

This one ranks quite high among the fiction in my antilibrary, both because it’s known for being a monumental virtuosic challenge of a book, and because, well, it’s David Foster Wallace’s landmark achievement, the opus of a brilliant author of unmatched aura, immortal artifact of his tragic genius.

What I know about this book without having read one page: it’s big and complex and long and frustrating — but if it’s anything like his nonfiction work, it’s also subtly hilarious and agonizingly self-aware and manic and penetrating and discursive and wise and contains in its heart a breathtaking dose of empathy. To be honest I have very little idea about the actual plot of Infinite Jest (addiction, entertainment, a drug-like video, a tennis academy) but to a certain degree I’m convinced that’s besides the point.

Reading this seems like a large commitment, but a worthy undertaking, if you like his style, which I do; it seems experimental and “hard” in the best ways—I’m really hoping it’s not overrated. Reviews are polarizing, as expected given DFW’s style. I love footnotes (this book has hundreds of footnotes!) so I don’t anticipate having problems with it on the technical/structure front. More importantly I hope the characters resonate—I have a feeling it would be an intellectually enjoyable feat regardless, but will have more meaning and impact if it’s fully satisfying as a story.

Additional information:

  • ISBN: 978-0316066525
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books

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