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Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Infinite Jest (original 1996; edition 2006)

by David Foster Wallace

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7,658140440 (4.3)9 / 713
Title:Infinite Jest
Authors:David Foster Wallace
Info:Back Bay Books (2006), Edition: 10 Anv, Paperback, 1104 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:@wishlist: to read

Work details

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (1996)

Recently added byrobertcha1, angw11, suesterret, thebigidea, baranovv, crypt_fiend, private library, magnifico, FarihaImami
Legacy LibrariesTerence Kemp McKenna
  1. 80
    Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (AndySandwich)
    AndySandwich: Books that cause neuroses.
  2. 80
    A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace (pyrocow)
  3. 81
    Ulysses by James Joyce (browner56)
    browner56: You will either love them both or hate them both, but you will probably need a reader's guide to get through either one--I know I did.
  4. 60
    Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (owenkeegan)
    owenkeegan: Set at an Irish boarding school, this book shares a sense of humor with and has a narrative disjunction similar to Infinite Jest.
  5. 61
    Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace by David Lipsky (blahblah88)
    blahblah88: Get to know DFW.
  6. 40
    A Naked Singularity: A Novel by Sergio De La Pava (DaveInSeattle)
  7. 41
    Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: It's all about what people do for entertainment, status, and sport. Along the way, the entire spectrum of society is satirized.
  8. 21
    The Man Without Qualities, Volume 1: A Sort of Introduction, and Pseudo Reality Prevails by Robert Musil (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: Die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung meint, dass 'Unendlicher Spass' von Foster Wallace für den Beginn des einundzwanzigsten Jahrhunderts das sei, was Musils 'Mann ohne Eigenschaften' für das vergangene Jahrhundert war.
  9. 54
    Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (owenkeegan)
    owenkeegan: David Foster Wallace based the structure of Infinite Jest on a fractal. Cloud Atlas similarly transitions from one story to the next as though zooming in on a corner of one world to reveal a whole new universe, related but unique.
  10. 10
    The Instructions by Adam Levin (hairball)
    hairball: If you liked Infinite Jest, you will like The Instructions, but even if you didn't like IJ, you should try it.
  11. 10
    Martian Time-Slip by Philip K. Dick (ateolf)
  12. 00
    The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt (aidan_w-m)
  13. 00
    The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World by Tom Feiling (DLSmithies)
    DLSmithies: I know that Infinite Jest isn't "about drugs" - to reduce it to that would be insulting - but nevertheless, I read these books around the same time, and found they both have really interesting things to say about drugs and addiction in modern society - so if you liked IJ, Tome Felling's book might be worth a look.… (more)
  14. 00
    The Dissertation: A Novel (Norton paperback fiction) by R. M. Koster (EnriqueFreeque)
  15. 58
    House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (Torikton)
    Torikton: Danielewski and Wallace both satirize academic writing by playing with footnotes.

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English (137)  Italian (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (140)
Showing 1-5 of 137 (next | show all)
(CEDUTO) Non brutto, ma con il poco tempo che abbiamo da vivere, il libro di Wallace è esageratamente prolisso *senza aggiungere nulla* a quanto già sappiamo. Ho proceduto per più di 100 pagine ma non ricordo immagini che, aldila' della (eventuale) stima allo scrittore - e al suo traduttore - non aggiungono profondità al vivere. Anche Dostojevski è prolisso - anche Thomas Bernhard, o Kafka per certe cose, anche la Allende - ma è tutto un altro andare. Qui a mio avviso si capiscono proprio i limiti della pura tecnica - e Wallace ne ha da vendere e ne avanzerà sempre troppa. Ricorda vagamente le performance di Oscar Peterson: si rimane basiti dalla velocità, ma finisce lì. Avanti un altro... PS: oppure, queste 1.400 pagine andrebbero gustate lentamente, poco alla volta: magari migliora. Ma non trovo utile farlo con questo testo.
  bobparr | Dec 14, 2014 |

Infinite Jest is so meticulously worded and masterfully plotted it's hard to talk about in and brief, broad sense. It also ends with so many threads in the middle of unraveling that the book will probably never end in my mind.


Many people on their reviews list this as their favorite book, which to me is very interesting, and I wonder if it's because it made an impact, or because it is challenging, or because it has literary street cred.


It has stuck with me, and will stick with me for a long time. It is not my favorite book though.
As I've said to friends, I enjoyed it, and am glad I read it, but I wouldn't recommend it. If you want to read this book you'll some day read it. If you don't want to read it, you probably won't. If you've never heard of this book just move along, this isn't the book you're looking for.

I'll read it again in a few years, and will probably explore literary explorations of it.

I'm glad it's done. For now. ( )
  rockinghorsedreams | Nov 13, 2014 |
The most difficult book I've ever read (Haven't fully tackled Ulysses *yet* but it's up there). Definitely *not* for casual readers or those who require clearly-drawn narratives. Don't bother attempting it unless you love the attributes of hard-core post-modern literature, because it doesn't get more fragmented and meta and bizarre and subtext-driven than this. Reading this book is *not* about having fun. There are times I did not enjoy it. At. All. So why 5 stars, then? Because this book is brilliant, even if you don't fully "get it" (hey, not DFW's fault we are slow lol).

There is an interview with DFW where he was asked about the lack of an ending and his reply was "There is an ending as far as I’m concerned. Certain kind of parallel lines are supposed to start converging in such a way that an 'end' can be projected by the reader somewhere beyond the right frame. If no such convergence or projection occurred to you, then the book’s failed for you."

I suspect it "fails" most people initially (I admit it failed me mostly), but the pieces are there (see: the internet), fragmented and disordered among the 980 pages *before* the actual end (last page) of the book (much in the first "chapter"!). Some I caught, others I did not, but I now cannot say that DFW took me on a 1000-page trip of nonsense, despite feeling that way at times. In fact, I plan to read this one again one day, with the "ending" (the narrative one) in mind. But, right now, my brain needs a vacation... ( )
  dulcinea14 | Sep 18, 2014 |
I started this several years ago ... and then let it go. Now I'm about a quarter of the way through it and I can't imagine HOW I could have left it. It's a real hoot and it's taking me to some very interesting places, in the far corners of my mind. When I pick it up and start to read, it just takes over and I'm rolling along in a special place. I've never experienced any other book quite the same way as this one.

Does every word sing? No. Are there things contained in the book's 1,079 pages of text and footnotes that don't work ... hell, yes. But he took the novel form and stretched it this way, and bent it that way, until it worked on many different levels, and failed on a fe others. A major physical problem I had with the book was its heft, it challenged my badly sprained thumb. Holding this book up in bed to read was often a dangerous proposition.

As a tennis junkie and player from way back, reading the tennis players insider stuff about Hal and the family's tennis academy was pure gold for me. All of the up close and personal agony of the drug halfway house's clients was hard to read at times, but certainly interesting. The book takes place sometime in some nonspecific future, after the US, Mexico and Canada have come under one government, and the years are named after their corporate sponsors. Sadly for this Vermont born reader, all of New England was abandoned as a place to live the good life, and is only used for storing hazardous waste in a polluted hell on earth.

The book style of moving from tennis training and competition, to dealing with the problems of addicts, to the North American politics of this futurescape, kept this reader's mind loose. And it is one VERY FUNNY book.

There were nearly 400 footnotes in the back of the book and they served many purposes. Explaining and detailing all the drugs (legal and street), was a common feature — one that seemed simply too clinical and cold after about the twentieth time, but Wallace has his fixations. Another use of the footnotes was to explain all the abbreviations that Wallace created and used throughout the work, which became a little old after a while. He knew we needed to know — and what's better than a fun trip to the back of the book? I ended up using two bookmarks while reading I Jest, one for my place in the text, and one for my latest footnote. Wallace used the footnotes for many other purposes. Moving back and forth, never knowing where any footnote would lead you, kept reading fluid and created many spectacularly humorous moments for him to play out a joke, or just mess with your head.

The word unique could have been created just as a label for this book ... Lord knows that reviewers, and readers of all kinds, have called it many things. But it's been an experience for me that was entirely unique. This is a reading experience that is massively creative and certainly one long strange trip of a book. Hell, I will be thinking and pondering his words for a long time. ( )
2 vote jphamilton | Jul 25, 2014 |
This was a true testament to perseverance. If it wasn't for my obsession with finishing a novel that I start I would never have finished this gargantuan.
For the good:
The novel itself is about America's obsession with addiction or the pursuit and need to be addicted - sex, drugs, power, control, fame, food, addiction to addiction. It is slow and pervasive and like Wallace states about its mood is sadness. The sadness starts in the gut and permeates your being as you read and realize this is me and all of us together blindly seeking one thing to another.
The bad:
Extremely poor editing.
Slow, slow character buildup that don't speak like individual characters, but far off shallow narratives from the author's mindless wanderings.
Everything but the kitchen sink of ramblings are included.
The story is convoluted and extremely messy. Imagine the inside of a magazine hoarders house. Now picture putting all the articles in a single novel and deciding the order by sifting them through a tornado.
The ugly:
1092 pages and footnotes. ( )
  revslick | Jul 3, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 137 (next | show all)
[I]t is, in a word, terrible. Other words I might use include bloated, boring, gratuitous, and – perhaps especially – uncontrolled. I would, in fact, go so far as to say that Infinite Jest is one of the very few novels for which the phrase ‘not worth the paper it’s written on’ has real meaning in at least an ecological sense [...] I resent the five weeks of my life I gave over to it; I resent every endlessly over-elaborated gag in the book.
If Mr. Wallace were less talented, you would be inclined to shoot him -- or possibly yourself -- somewhere right around page 480 of ''Infinite Jest.'' In fact, you might anyway. Alternately tedious and effulgent [...] What makes all this almost plausible, and often pleasurable, is Mr. Wallace's talent -- as a stylist, a satirist and a mimic -- as well as his erudition, which ranges from the world of street crime to higher mathematics. While there are many uninteresting pages in this novel, there are not many uninteresting sentences.
"Somewhere in the mess, the reader suspects, are the outlines of a splendid novel, but as it stands the book feels like one of those unfinished Michelangelo sculptures: you can see a godly creature trying to fight its way out of the marble, but it's stuck there, half excavated, unable to break completely free."

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wallace, David Fosterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eggers, DaveForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giua, GraziaContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nesi, EdoardoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Villoresi, AnnalisaContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Molly Notkin often confides on the phone to Joelle van Dyne about the one tormented love of Notkin's life thus far, an erotically circumscribed G.W. Pabst scholar at New York University tortured by the neurotic conviction that there are only a finite number of erections possible in the world at any one time and that his tumescence means e.g. the detumescence of some perhaps more deserving or tortured Third World sorghum farmer or something, so that whenever he tumefies he 'll suffer the same order of guilt that your less eccentrically tortured Ph.D.-type person will suffer at the idea of, say, wearing baby seal-fur."
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0316066524, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:43 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A spoof on our culture featuring a drug-and-alcohol rehabilitation house near Boston. The center becomes a hotbed of revolutionary activity by Quebec separatists in revolt against the Organization of North American Nations which now rules the continent.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

Legacy Library: David Foster Wallace

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