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Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Infinite Jest (original 2014; edition 2006)

by David Foster Wallace

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,892165339 (4.28)9 / 847
Title:Infinite Jest
Authors:David Foster Wallace
Info:Back Bay Books (2006), Edition: 10 Anv, Paperback, 1104 pages
Collections:June 6, 2012
Tags:fantasy, portion control

Work details

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (2014)

  1. 80
    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: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace 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. 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.
  9. 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.
  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 Sellout by Paul Beatty (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Books share a hectic, erudite wordplay and sense of the outrageous.
  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. 68
    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 (161)  Italian (2)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All (165)
Showing 1-5 of 161 (next | show all)
I have read every page of [Infinite Jest] but I can make no claim to have 'read' [Infinite Jest]. I read the last page and immediately reread the first 30 or so pages...... one could easily simply reread the whole book at that point and then again and again..... I wouldn't know where to begin commenting on IJ, so I'm not going to waste your or my time. I can summarize and muse over smaller pieces of it which I have done over on a thread in Infinite Jesters, but that's it. It's not a book for the faint-of-heart. I won't recommend it in any casual way, but if you are an adventurous reader in the Joycean, Melville, Pynchon etctera vein, then you've probably already read it and I don't need to recommend it! ***** ( )
  sibyx | Mar 4, 2017 |
DFW obviously had a blast writing this. It's full of digressions, trivia, footnotes (lots!). He's determined to make the reader engage with the book - no linear plotline to sail along on. It's a bustling, smart, scabulous (meaning, "the human mind's capacity to keep scrummaging around seeking knowledge, new input, new ideas and sensations to keep it occupied and from getting bored" - The Urban Dictionary), vulgar, and really funny book.

The two main locales are a tennis academy, owned by the main character's parents and where he is training, and a mental hospital. One driving mechanism in the novel is a hard-to-find amateur movie that is so entrancing it is fatally addictive to anyone who views it. Some Quebec-ian (!) terrorists want to get their hands on the film, to help them disrupt, I'm pretty sure, attempts by the U.S. to foist a polluted New England on Canada.

A lot of the story involves addictions of various sorts, and way more drug use and drug info than I needed, but I imagine there are some readers who eat it up. There's also a lot about parent-child relations, and our main character, Hal Incandenza, struggles to deal with the death of his father - who was the director of the fatally addictive movie and many others.

The writing energy and unique creativity and the challenges for the reader in Infinite Jest all made me think of Joyce and Ulysses. You're going to want to bring your "A" game as a reader to this one.

There are more brilliant lines in the book than you can shake a stick at. Here are some:

"I do things like get in a taxi and say, "The library, and step on it.”

* * * *

"You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do."

* * * *

"Mario, what do you get when you cross an insomniac, an unwilling agnostic and a dyslexic?"

"I give."

"You get someone who stays up all night torturing himself mentally over the question of whether or not there's a dog.”

* * * *

"God seems to have a kind of laid-back management style I’m not crazy about.”

* * * *

One of my favorite lines was one character describing an obsessive jerk as "a turd-counter".

I'm sure there are readers who repeatedly pour over this novel, looking for new connections and deriving new meaning. There are allusions to Hamlet, including the title - "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!"; allusions to the Odyssey, and allusions to others, I'm sure. I'm glad I read it. It's been on a number of "Best Novels Ever" lists and, as Mark says, how can we possibly give it less than 5 stars? ( )
1 vote jnwelch | Feb 24, 2017 |
I did it. I can't believe I actually did it. ( )
  hay16mc | Feb 13, 2017 |
Staggering. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
A long hard read but worth every minute. His recovery scenarios and insight were particularly realistic and relateable. ( )
  danojacks | Jan 5, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 161 (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."
I did it. I can't believe I actually did it.

» 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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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:03 -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 3 descriptions

Legacy Library: David Foster Wallace

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