Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest

A Novel

Book - 1996
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Infinite Jest is the name of a movie said to be so entertaining that anyone who watches it loses all desire to do anything but watch it. People die happily, viewing it in endless repetition. The novel Infinite Jest is the story of this addictive entertainment, and in particular how it affects a Boston halfway house for recovering addicts and a nearby tennis academy, whose students have many budding addictions of their own. As the novel unfolds, various individuals, organizations, and governments vie to obtain the master copy of Infinite Jest for their own ends, and the denizens of the tennis school and the halfway house are caught up in increasingly desperate efforts to control the movie - as is a cast including burglars, transvestite muggers, scam artists, medical professionals, pro football stars, bookies, drug addicts both active and recovering, film students, political assassins, and one of the most endearingly messed-up families ever captured in a novel. On this outrageous frame hangs an exploration of,essential questions about what entertainment is, and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment interacts with our need to connect with other humans; 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. The huge cast and multilevel narrative serve a story that accelerates to a breathtaking, heartbreaking, unforgettable conclusion. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human - and one of those rare books that renew the very idea of what a novelcan do.
Publisher: Boston : Little, Brown and Company, c1996.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780316921176
Branch Call Number: WALLACE
Characteristics: 1079 pages ; 25 cm.


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It's been a long time, friend. Are you still as amazing as you were when I read you in college? I felt like DFW wrote this book just for me.

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OPL_JaneS May 03, 2018

The definitive novel of 1990s postmodernism. The late David Foster Wallace somehow accomplished the impossible--a book both sprawling and intimate, intellectual and pedestrian. The only book I've ever read that really speaks the way the inner voice sounds. Ostensibly, it's a book about drug abuse at a prestigious tennis academy and a Boston-area halfway house, but you'd be better off making a list of things this book isn't about, rather than what it is.

Sep 25, 2017

One of my absolute favorites!

May 10, 2017

This book took me forever. I am normally a very quick reader; this one took 4 months. It was touch and go for awhile, but so glad I read this. I recommend reading in long stretches; reading on your lunch break isn't enough time to dive in. The times the book was most enjoyable is when I took it on airplanes. While dense, the book is beautiful in its complexities - reminiscent of art nouveau architecture - so rich it is hard to take it all in! This really is a masterpiece.

Jan 04, 2017

I have thirty pages to go in this book and have to say it's been disappointing throughout. You get the idea Wallace is lost. The book feels like it was stopped(abandoned) and started. Its continuity(or a lack of any other creative force)balky. As in e.g. all creative force has dried up far before the books end. Does literature as a whole benefit from Wallace's work? If the point is to confuse the reader he(Wallace) I would call a consummate jerk for his work Infinite Jest. I spent six very intense weeks of reading with my own notes, reading guide The book is very funny. What you put in to comprehending all the characters and places and organizations and translations is part of the fun and frustration of the(his, Wallace's) work. Comprehending Wallace's biting-off-and-elaborating-more-than-one-might-intellectually-masticate with all the made up crap and inevitable misspelling's ubiquitous in the scrutiny of a surprising amount of novels I've read makes you think he was doing all this in way to simply amuse himself. Like Himself's Work and the point is that it's pointless and unnecessary for art to be understood even by the artist. Especially the audience or critics. He was human. Love him for his flaws. (The work) quite(largely) beautiful and quite(largely) damaged. Bravo, DFW!

IanH_KCMO Sep 29, 2016

Don't feel bad if you have this one sent to the branch of your choice and you feel intimidated holding it in your hands. It happens a lot. Infinite Jest is intimidating at first (and a punchline as far as big, heady books go) but if you can make it through the first couple hundred pages and pick up on the novel's rhythm, it might change your life. It's not as tough as everyone makes it out to be, and despite being held up as one of these paragons of capital L Literature, there is a ton of heart and soul and humor in these pages. It's so funny! Like legitimately, laugh out loud hilarious. And also deeply sad and full of broken characters falling apart and broken characters trying to put themselves back together. It's deep, ridiculous, and can change the way you look at the world, and there's a reason the folks who love this book are borderline evangelical about it...which um, yeah, ok I am very evangelical about this book.

Sep 21, 2016

I, as others, had a hard time getting through this book with all the footnotes and multiple themes. What saved me is a blog called infinite summer which gives an outline of the book with comments. It's a has a lot of humor (some of it very unusual). The blog (mentioned above) will help a lot of readers get through it and I think you will like it.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 04, 2016

A polarizing work you'll likely either love or hate. At least if you read it, you can honestly say you've read it (whatever that is good for).

Apr 06, 2016

It is quite a tome. I was not able to finish the book by the due date, hence the four stars. Will try again later. It is not an easy read, not to say that is a bad thing. Reminded me of trying to get through John Milton or Boccaccio, obviously nuggets of genius in the work, but you need to fully devote your intellect and attention.

Aug 25, 2015

Negative thoughts (perhaps I'm yet able to get it if positively) on what I think to make this book unaccessible: the interweaving of 3 main plots ("Tennis academy", "Drug rehab", "Canadian terrorist") needs editing, the timeline construction and monologue storytelling elude readers; usage of overwhelmingly (math, science, art, geopolitics, humanity...) technical terms, made-up words and vernacular from all social strata, scarce punctuation, ranting with too much details, - a big collection of showing off; Notes section is vast and mixed with heavy (and valuable?) references to "drug taxonomy and usage", but also disguised with some of the best and important content that should be upgraded from the footnote; the book must have been written under influence, the nauseous ending does not close any plots in the book.

It's hardly of comparison with most books in the market, guess whoever (not a weak-gutted) read through it would give high remark. It's not my all time favorite though, aside from profound humor of human life, I sometimes found this book endearing (location, time -wise, and every day human being) and intimate, wish to join a bookclub dedicated to this opus.

Jul 08, 2015

• Upon completing my 78th book of the year...

I neither recommend you read this book nor recommend that you do not read _Infinite Jest_—You must be solely responsible for that decision.

David Foster Wallace was clearly one whacked-out dude, but I beat him at his own game—While I may not have read every word in this monstrosity, I certainly did look at each and every one.

I'll use Dorothy Parker's words to end this…

"This book has all the depth and glitter of a worn dime."

"This wasn't just plain terrible, this was fancy terrible. This was terrible with raisins in it."

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Sep 25, 2017

The truth will set you free. But not until it's finished with you.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 05, 2016

Everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else.

Mar 05, 2013

“The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.”


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Mar 05, 2013

Other: Warning: this novel contains extreme epic-ness - along with language, drug references and other stuff.


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