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Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Infinite Jest (original 2014; edition 2006)

by David Foster Wallace

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,170191444 (4.26)9 / 926
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.
Title:Infinite Jest
Authors:David Foster Wallace
Info:Back Bay Books (2006), Edition: 10 Anv, Paperback, 1104 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, pb

Work details

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (2014)

  1. 90
    A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments by David Foster Wallace (pyrocow)
  2. 70
    Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (AndySandwich)
    AndySandwich: Books that cause neuroses.
  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 by David Lipsky (blahblah88)
    blahblah88: Get to know DFW.
  6. 30
    A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava (DaveInSeattle)
  7. 42
    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: A Sort of Introduction; Pseudo Reality Prevails {Vol. 1 of 2} 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. 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.
  10. 10
    Martian Time-Slip by Philip K. Dick (ateolf)
  11. 00
    The Sellout by Paul Beatty (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Books share a hectic, erudite wordplay and sense of the outrageous.
  12. 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)
  13. 00
    The Dissertation: A Novel (Norton paperback fiction) by R. M. Koster (absurdeist)
  14. 55
    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.

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English (186)  Italian (2)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (191)
Showing 1-5 of 186 (next | show all)
This book has a lot of baggage these days: Samantha Bee mocks it; THE NEW YORKER mocks it; it’s a hipster bro book; it’s a book that is much more widely owned than read; behind David Foster Wallace’s sainted image, burnished by the goody-goody message of the “This is Water” commencement speech (that message I recall being “Be mindful and kind, even to the mom of the out-of-control kids ahead of you in line at Safeway”), lay a horrible misogynist who threw women out of cars.

Well, I do believe that DFW was at times a horrible person. I also believe that he really believed and was passionate about the messages of “This Is Water” and INFINITE JEST and THE PALE KING (though there is more there than “Be mindful and kind”). I am planning to be a true DFW completist, so I will read every biography and article, so one day maybe I will give him a grade as a human being.

I do feel strongly that The INFINITE JEST brand — at least among those who haven’t read it — is completely at odds with reality. If it had been published in 3 separate volumes, with a much bigger font and maybe footnotes instead of end notes (yeah, not sure about that last one), it would not be perceived as the FINNEGAN’S WAKE of late 20th century American literature. (About last part: maybe an exaggeration. But people ARE
intimidated by it. As I said, I think that that’s mostly about the weight of the paperback, the font size and the endnotes.)

In other words, INFINITE JEST is not just a book for Pete Buttigieg. It’s just not that difficult. It’s really funny and wise, and the plot IS a bit confusing, and you won’t exactly understand how it ends, but who gives a $&@!? I certainly didn’t.

My suggestion, if you can deal with audiobooks: listen to it first (no footnotes, but you get 86.4% of the goodness and you don’t have to deal with footnotes). Then actually read it again, on your Kindle or on paper, with the footnotes this time. And maybe again. Well, actually, read THE PALE KING before you read it the third time. ( )
  GCMarshallJr. | Oct 29, 2019 |
The last three pages made me physically ill. That has never happened to me before. Great, great book. ( )
  nushustu | Aug 5, 2019 |
The greatest book ever written. ( )
  taxcourtjester | May 31, 2019 |
I actually finished this book last Friday, but I've held off rating/reviewing it because I still don't know what to make of it. It is said that this book is only really understood after 2-3 readings, but I just don't have that kind of patience. I am glad that I read it, though. I would give it 3.5 stars if I could. ( )
  Terrencee | May 8, 2019 |
impossible to read, impossible not to read.
( )
  Paperpuss | Feb 25, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 186 (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 (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wallace, David Fosterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blumenbach, UlrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Covián, MarceloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eggers, DaveForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giua, GraziaContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nesi, EdoardoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Villoresi, AnnalisaContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I am seated in an office, surrounded by heads and bodies.
"...'Acceptance' is usually more a matter of fatigue than anything else."

"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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