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Infinite Jest: A Novel Hardcover – February 1, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Took a little while to get into the book. but so far I am enjoying it very much.Published 1 day ago by Katieb027
Where to start...
It's amazing that someone can think and write with such complexity. However, it's a literary impossibility. Read more
David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest (1996) and Don DeLillo's Underworld (1997) are each a great writer's take on the state of American culture at the end of the 20th Century, and... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Jon Waters
This is a BIG/LONG book. David Foster Wallace is a little pretentious of a writer for but all my friends were reading it so i took a chance. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
Best book I have ever and will ever read! Changed my view of the world made me want to be a more open and thoughtful person, brought me laughter and made me cry for days. Read morePublished 8 days ago by CJ
I had heard that this book is supposed to be some literary tour de force, supposedly one of the "100 greatest novels of the 20th century." But that is not why I bought it. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Janie Iverson
None of Amazon's pigeonholes do justice to David Foster Wallace's masterpiece. Infinite Jest is not for the faint-hearted reader, but to pick this novel up and read the 20th... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Ann T Jacquez
Great, but long read. Depression, loneliness, addiction, tennis, wheelchair assassins. Took about 60 pages until I got used to the writing, but man, what a great book written in... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Morgan Sturtz