David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest turned twenty this year and a year ago when I reviewed it, I did mention that, I am quoting myself, “Reading INFINITE JEST was a task waiting to be done for quite a long of time.” Indeed it’s a task. Reading any book above thousands pages, is a big task for me. Infinite Jest was first of its kind and one of its kind for me. After it, I had courage to read books like Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Dickens’ Bleak House, the list is a little bit longer than I expected.
Reading a massive novel means that a reader is willing to be attentive to a period of time in which he completes the task of reading that book. In this particular period, the reader’s attention span can be distracted due to daily activities and a thing called life. What tends a reader to read such massive works? (Another question can also be put here: what tends a writer to write such a massive work? But we are leaving the writing part for some time later.) Well, the one major factor I have found in every lengthy book is the start is important. The start of the text, is what will make a reader curious about it and such that the force of curiosity drives the reader to complete the book.
The start of Infinite Jest wasn’t extraordinary but it was enough for one to be engrossed to. Many might not agree, but that is how I felt since I have never read Wallace’s works before and neither had I read that kind of writing style. I seldom think about reading Infinite Jest one more time, however I know the outcome will be again, disappointing. It was the ending that did not work for me. Yes, the ending of any text is as essential as the beginning but it is not in my hands (or yours), to end a book in a way we want. The ending of the book does not at all depends on the few mere pages of what happens when to whom but it actually depends on the structure of the book.The structure of the book is essential to handle the complexity, if there are going to be a 1000 pages, there is going to be some complexity and not just words pen down in abstract manner. The structure of the book must cope with its characters regardless of the writing style of a writer.
This is what Infinite Jest made me understand.
Which David Foster Wallace book have you read recently/last?
What do you think about massive books?
Check out this link: Five David Foster Wallace Essays You Should Read