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Customer Review

9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Infinite Jest: or The Book that Nobody Ever Read, March 19, 1998
This review is from: Infinite Jest: A Novel (Hardcover)
OK, so I'm the last in a long chain of book lovers who have passed on this same dog-eared copy of Infinite Jest, largely unread, with hope that the next reader could better explain why this book is so well received. I was the first in this parade of lost souls to finish, so I get to write the review. Let's see if I can summarize the complaints we've had ...

-- The narrative is always inconsistent (sic), peppered with unappetizing colloquialisms and grammatical "corrections" for its own flaws that draw attention away from the story. It makes the reading experience like driving through fog with Vaseline-covered sunglasses.

-- The text is chronically marred with endnotes that force you to thumb 800 pages to find an insipid observation that had nothing to do with the noted object.*
*The endnotes can be 5 pages long and
footnoted themselves, which still manage
to avoid enlightening the footnoted text

-- The alleged novel is really 17 short stories until around page 250, when it begins to congeal into a textual pudding with clumps of esoterica and pools of brilliant anecdote. And it tastes sooo pretentious!

I'm sure DFW had a great time writing this book, but when does the _reader_ get to have fun? For the first 300 pages I really wanted to put the book down, run out in the rain and catch pneumonia. But, like all the characters in the book, I became hooked. And therein lies the Jest Infinite (oops, let the cat out of the bag) - we're all a bunch of addicts to reading, and someone needs to come along and create a BA (books anonymous) to help us gain Control over our dependencies. What a powerful force moves us to finish and even believe we liked a book that definitely doesn't like us! The only reason I rate it as high as I do is the payoff you get when you actually finish: the high of reading 2300 grams of pure fluff.
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