Infinite Jest [Paperback]
- Little, Brown Book Group
- Publication Date:
- 05 June 1997
- Modern & Contemporary
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I think I should count reading this book as an accomplishment of sorts... like, it should have a special place in my CV and everything.<br/><br/>It’s been four(ish) days since I’ve finished reading this book, four days which I’ve spent trying to put at least some of my impressions into words which would hopefully form at least somewhat coherent sentences. Well, I give up. It is simply impossible to sum up my impressions, mostly because, apparently, there aren’t any impressions to sum up, or – somewhat more likely – there are far too many impressions than I’m prepared (and equipped) to deal with at the moment. To put it in a less annoying manner – just thinking about my thoughts about this book is just so dashed overwhelming.<br/><br/>That’s not to say I don't have any opinion whatsoever about <s>whatever the thing that I read is</s> this novel – it’s just that all my current opinions/impressions tend to be rather contradictory. For example, at the moment, I’m utterly unable to figure out whether I actually loved it or hated it... or, not impossibly and far more likely – both. I’m not even sure whether I enjoyed reading it at all – I have a rather vague impressions I sort of did, but not in the traditionally accepted meaning of the word.<br/><br/>The only thing I’m certain of is that I utterly loved/hated the ending... mostly because it was <i>so</i> spectacularly inconclusive and unsatisfying on <i>so</i> many levels that it still irks me to no end, albeit in a possibly pleasant-ish way.<br/><br/>In any case, five stars are for the overall feat or whatsit – it made my brain ache at various stages... and any book capable of doing that deserves five stars... and a biscuit.
Set in an addict’s halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring one of the most endearingly screwed up families in contemporary fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to dominate our lives, about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect other people, and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are. Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passion that makes us human and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do. Volumes upon volumes have been written about Wallace and this book in particular and all off them both hit and miss the point. The book is so organic and so ambitious that it defies study and its affects each reader in a different way. It even affects the same reader differently upon re-reading. The nature of the story, the intertwined plots, and beauty of the language almost are lost in the challenge it presents to the reader; the challenge to think about not only the text but the nature of the themes are reflected in our own lives.
I either have no words for this book or about a bazillion. It's not perfect, but its sprawling messiness and flaws are just as valuable as its wit and compassion and general genius. I'll never forget Infinite Summer.
This is a cumbersome book with intricate details that weave multiple plot lines together around similar themes. While the storyline often appears disjointed, the threads come together at the end. I was very impressed with the amount of planning that obviously went into the construction of this work, but it was at times so subtle that a person could easily miss important details. This book is not for the faint of heart or for someone who wants a quick, mindless vacation read. This book will make you think - not just about the characters, but about how they fit together within the construction of this literary puzzle.
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