Books, Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Reading INFINITE JEST was a task waiting to be done for quite a long of time. Reading INFINITE JEST in an Ebook format, is another task altogether. I searched for the paperback copy of Infinite Jest in more than ten big stores all over the city I live in. It was a shame, none of them were responsible enough to have at least a single copy. It took me two days to find the best possible solution until I decided to go with the e-formatted copy on my phablet. I considered ordering it online, but that just depletes the awe in which you are in when you want to read a book so badly. Also, the online process would have taken at least twelve days, by the time I was over with it.

I know its massive, and yes I did nothing accept reading it day and night for seven straight days. But that’s okay. Anyone can do that. Imagine the amount of patience and constant attention an author needs to devote towards that kind of a work. In front of that, I did nothing more than a mere tribute to his book and the author himself. It’s also that I did not want to spend the whole spring reading it. Spring is not the best season to read Infinite Jest. Summer might be.

Being classified as a post-modern classic, this novel exemplifies the technique of narrative piece as it traces two tangentially-related plotlines and wave between the past, present and future. Since the first page of the book one can be astonished by how can such a thing be written so flawlessly but later on realise that Wallace did took his time to right this. David Eggers, who wrote the Forward, says: “The book is 1079 pages long and there is not one lazy sentence.” Eggers opinion as I consider is personal. The Forward section which he completely dedicates in proving a mark that the reader has to be challenged to actually read a book like this. By virtue, if you decide to read this book, I suggest you to leave the forward to Eggers himself.

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace focuses on themes of addiction, disorder and depression, as well as honesty. It explores, with the touch of sarcasm, humour, and as it has been put on Goodreads, “[the] essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are.” It’s the best description given to this book, certainly the better one than the one I had phrased before. The plot’s not that a pandora’s box, but vastly compromised. The book does start on a good node with the reader, but as the pages exceed, it fails to involve the reader’s imagination.

Having wide range of dramatic personae can have a positive or a negative effect. And this one leads to the latter one. Since the plot fails to cop up with the reader’s imagination, many of the characters becomes negligible. I had to develop an understanding while reading this book, that the structure of the book is not as good as with its characters as the author is remarkable in detailing. Yes, that’s most important part of the whole book. Detailing. David Foster Wallace seems an expert in that. I haven’t read a writer belonging to the later-half of twentieth century who has achieved perfectionism in detailing the scenes.

I certainly feel that this particular book is a bit hyped due to two reasons: First, it’s a work consisting of more than 1000 pages, and I think you can count the number of authors who wrote books more than a 1000 pages in the 90s. The second reason, is of course, his suicide which is sad but does count in my opinion. I think the work is still appreciable. Not because of the above two reasons, but of the way it’s written. It’s an idea that not many have explored as Wallace has. It’s a rare book, indeed.

 2.5 out of 5!


14 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace”

  1. Wow, I just put this book on my “to read” list after listening to David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech at Kenyon College on YouTube! If you haven’t seen it already it is SO worth watching. From your review (and the description) I do feel like this book is way over my head, but if I do start it, will probably take it very, very slow.


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