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Infinite Jest [Kindle Edition]

David Foster Wallace
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (806 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $18.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Sold by: Hachette Book Group
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Book Description

A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores 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. 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 passions that make us human - and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.

Editorial Reviews Review

In a sprawling, wild, super-hyped magnum opus, David Foster Wallace fulfills the promise of his precocious novel The Broom of the System. Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction, features a huge cast and multilevel narrative, and questions essential elements of American culture - our entertainments, our addictions, our relationships, our pleasures, our abilities to define ourselves.

From Publishers Weekly

With its baroque subplots, zany political satire, morbid, cerebral humor and astonishing range of cultural references, Wallace's brilliant but somewhat bloated dirigible of a second novel (after The Broom in the System) will appeal to steadfast readers of Pynchon and Gaddis. But few others will have the stamina for it. Set in an absurd yet uncanny near-future, with a cast of hundreds and close to 400 footnotes, Wallace's story weaves between two surprisingly similar locales: Ennet House, a halfway-house in the Boston Suburbs, and the adjacent Enfield Tennis Academy. It is the "Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment" (each calendar year is now subsidized by retail advertising); the U.S. and Canada have been subsumed by the Organization of North American Nations, unleashing a torrent of terrorism by Quebecois separatists; drug problems are widespread; the Northeastern continent is a giant toxic waste dump; and CD-like "entertainment cartridges" are the prevalent leisure activity. The novel hinges on the dysfunctional family of E.T.A.'s founder, optical-scientist-turned-cult-filmmaker Dr. James Incandenza (aka Himself), who took his life shortly after producing a mysterious film called Infinite Jest, which is supposedly so addictively entertaining as to bring about a total neural meltdown in its viewer. As Himself's estranged sons?professional football punter Orin, introverted tennis star Hal and deformed naif Mario?come to terms with his suicide and legacy, they and the residents of Ennet House become enmeshed in the machinations of the wheelchair-bound leader of a Quebecois separatist faction, who hopes to disseminate cartridges of Infinite Jest and thus shred the social fabric of O.N.A.N. With its hilarious riffs on themes like addiction, 12-step programs, technology and waste management (in all its scatological implications), this tome is highly engrossing?in small doses. Yet the nebulous, resolutionless ending serves to underscore Wallace's underlying failure to find a suitable novelistic shape for his ingenious and often outrageously funny material.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2178 KB
  • Print Length: 1092 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0316921173
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; 1st edition (April 3, 2009)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000S1M9LY
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,973 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
147 of 152 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Here's What You Need to Know... September 19, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I feel like there's been so much written about this book, that it almost seems impossible to try to add anything new to this discussion. However, I will try to lay out reasons to buy/not buy this book as well as a few things people might want to know before jumping into this kind of commitment. INFINITE JEST isn't for everyone, and I don't mean that in a condescending or patronizing way: it will certainly appeal to some people's sensibilities much more than others.

###Here's What You Need to Know###
David Foster Wallace's INFINITE JEST is a postmodern novel with a premodern message. Wallace, who railed against irony, wanted to be sincere in his writing. So while this book does contain many postmodern conventions, its ideas about humanity aren't postmodern at all. I think many people were disappointed that the book is "about addiction, and that's all you need to know," but there is much more to this book, and there's much more that Wallace has to say. Some of these messages are delivered with a heavy hand, and that's fine: Wallace wanted to be sincere, and he wouldn't want to dull his insights by distancing himself from them via irony or whatever else.

This book is indeed incredibly long. INFINITE JEST is notoriously known for being a long book - it's just shy of 1100 pages. Stephen King's THE STAND (uncut edition) and George R.R. Martin's STORM OF SWORDS are longer this, but I was able to clear those books much quicker than David Foster Wallace's second novel. I'm a very slow reader, and I was able to read INFINITE JEST in about two months, without taking into account the time I spent reading two shorter novels by different authors.

This book is indeed incredibly verbose.
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559 of 597 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius rewards the patient December 12, 2001
David Foster Wallace is a genius, and he knows it. But unlike other geniuses that you might know, he never tries to make you feel dumb. He just wants you to understand the same things that he does, so occasionally you'll feel out of your depth. But he's also a gifted writer, so odds are that you *will* come out understanding him. And what he's saying is brilliant, so you'll feel like a better person for it.
Wallace has been described as ``postmodern", a word that seems to get smacked onto anything written after World War II. I don't see it. To me, postmodernism involves a few things: 1) irony, in liberal doses (e.g., DeLillo's _White Noise_); 2) a continuous awareness that we're *reading a book* and that there's an author talking to us, and that the characters are under his control (e.g., anything by Kurt Vonnegut); 3) self-reference, sometimes to the point of disorienting involution (e.g., Wallace's story ``Westward The Course Of Empire Makes Its Way" from his book _Girl With Curious Hair_ - and that story is, notably, a spoof of postmodernism). This may be an overly conservative definition of postmodernism, but the word's overapplication justifies some conservatism.
_Infinite Jest_ is not postmodern; it's just a great story with beautifully constructed characters. It is a book about a movie that is so addictive that anyone who starts watching it has no choice but to keep watching it forever - foregoing food, water, and sleep, and suffering as much pain as is necessary to keep watching. The movie itself is, to paraphrase a friend, an uber-McGuffin (I'm never sure whether I've spelled that right) - an object that never gets clearly explained, but around which the plot coheres.
The movie itself is not the main point of the book.
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277 of 296 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure genius March 3, 2004
Say farewell, at least for a month or so, to your family, friends, and other hobbies. Figure out a way to fortify your fingers, wrists, and arms so you can hold this book up for hours at a time over a period of weeks. Reconfigure the lighting arrangement in your reading area for maximum glow. Find two sturdy bookmarks. Take a deep breath, let it out real slow, and you are ready to begin the monumental task of reading David Foster Wallace's "Infinite Jest." It took me three solid weeks to navigate a path through the byzantine structures of Wallace's magnum opus, three weeks of reading at least twenty pages a day (often more than that, of course) to get through the nearly 1,000 pages of text and the ninety plus pages of endnotes that make up this novel. If you have heard of Wallace before, and you probably have if you are checking out reviews for the book, you know "Infinite Jest" has quite a reputation in the literary world. You will see stuffed shirts tossing around words like "post post-modernism" and other academic jargon while referring to Wallace's oeuvre. Don't let these old fogies get you down; "Infinite Jest" is an immensely readable, hypnotically fascinating novel chock full of great humor, great sadness, and thought provoking themes.
The novel takes place in Enfield, Massachusetts in the near future. In the story, Canada, the United States, and Mexico formed a federation called the Organization of North American Nations (known as O.N.A.N.). The citizens of this confederation spend their time watching entertainment cartridges playable on their "teleputers," devices that came about when broadcast television went bankrupt.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars like later Joyce
Complex work of a neurotic American Dostoevsky. Lengthy and genius, but not for the casual reader. If you can stomach him, like later Joyce, you are in for a treat. Read more
Published 1 day ago by kurt ling
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Probably the most addictively entertaining book I've ever read.
Published 3 days ago by Matt Harness
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the effort.
A difficult book, but well-worth reading and re-reading.

I had previously read David Foster Wallace's "A Supposedly Fun Thing I Will Never Do Again" and I wasn't... Read more
Published 5 days ago by An Unfashionable Woman
5.0 out of 5 stars ... time with this book and you will fall in love. Wallace is a genius
Put in the time with this book and you will fall in love. Wallace is a genius. I'm not worthy.
Published 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful book.....sometimes way over my head
Published 7 days ago by Carol B
2.0 out of 5 stars Sorry, just not for me
While I know I am in the minority, I realized a quarter of the way through that I could not stay with this gargantuan novel that appeared to me to be inspired by the author's self... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Henry Arthur
5.0 out of 5 stars David Foster Wallace is truly one of the great writers of our time
David Foster Wallace is truly one of the great writers of our time. It is so unfortunate that he is no longer with us. Read more
Published 10 days ago by David J. Billetdeaux
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely funny. And just plain huge
Hugely inventive. Hugely funny. And just plain huge. You'll learn a lot about tennis, drug and alcohol addiction, AA, linguistics, fatherhood, and a heck of a lot of other odd... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Perry Powell
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't read this if you enjoy DFW. No animosity intended, just...
I had high hopes for this author, based on third hand information from other writers who in retrospect I wasn't a fan of either. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Beatrix Warbucks
5.0 out of 5 stars Infinitely infinite
It will take time, effort and energy. There'll be days and weeks where you'll wish you never picked up this magnificent book. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Jason Bos
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More About the Author

David Foster Wallace wrote the acclaimed novels Infinite Jest and The Broom of the System and the story collections Oblivion, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, and Girl With Curious Hair. His nonfiction includes the essay collections Consider the Lobster and A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, and the full-length work Everything and More.  He died in 2008.

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Topic From this Discussion
Infinite Jest: 0... what's with the ": 0"?
i'm wondering the same thing.
Sep 11, 2012 by Alicia Gifford |  See all 5 posts
Are there no endnotes in the kindle version of Infinite Jest?
The endnotes show up in the text as little superscript numbers. You use the 5-way controller on the Kindle to go to that line and place, and click it to read the endnote. Then you press the back button to get back to the main text.

On the iPhone/iPad/computer, you click or tap the number to go... Read More
Apr 20, 2011 by Jay Goodman Tamboli |  See all 12 posts
Who is the "poor girl afraid to go to the postbox"?
I think it may refer to Emily Dickinson, who was agoraphobic (a condition Wallace himself had).
Apr 15, 2009 by K Johnson |  See all 5 posts
Your favorite scene or "vignette" in Infinite Jest?
I must admit, I loved the conversation between the US and Canada over trash dump in the north. I've lent the book to my mother so I'm a little fuzzy on what the exact circumstances were.

Jan 22, 2012 by K. Mann |  See all 3 posts
Insurance claim - was this first version of it?
No, this story's been around in various forms for decades, if not more...
Sep 30, 2009 by Alex C. Knapik |  See all 3 posts
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