Howling Fantoids: Infinite Jest is Kicking My Butt

A Character Map of Infinite Jest 
I'm late to the DFW party. However, I'm late to all things literarily and musically fashionable, which is why I'm not allowed to purchase any property in Portland..I'm the opposite of whatever a hipster is. But Infinite Jest... why didn't those of you in the know warn me? DFW set the hook with thirty immaculate opening pages and then piled chapter after chapter of new characters: Tennis players, drug addicts, and drug addicted tennis players. And P.G.O.A.T.

The vocabulary kicks my Nook's on-board dictionary's fanny, forcing me to download the Oxford Dictionary App.This is only a partial solution. DFW, it seem, felt at liberty to invent his own words when the mood struck.

I complained on Facebook about not being able to find the plotline. An English Prof. buddy of mine pointed out that's not how a postmodern novel works. DFW used 1,300 pages to create his universe, and the reader finishes the novel by how he or she journey's through it. So I'm in seventh grade again, playing Dungeons and Dragons at the whim of the dungeon master. My buddy winked and told me that he's enjoying a plot driven summer and reading the Game of Thrones series.


Still, the book is wonderful. The dialogue witty and insightful.And only 950 pages to go. I found the online wiki for the book and refer to it often.

But when I finish, I'm going to need something light to read. If my Prof. friend is right, and Infinite Jest is finished by the readers' choices, then this might be my intellectual next step.

1 comment:

  1. I'm late to this post, but as I said on FB, I feel your pain. I appreciate DFW's fiction, but I actually enjoy his essays more and would be more likely to read the essays again. Not sure if you're an Elmore Leonard fan, but I'm reading Pronto after reading two classics in a row (Invisible Man and The Great Gatsby). At their best, Leonard's stories are a great guilty pleasure with dialogue that's too good for popular fiction.