Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest

A Novel

Book - 2006
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A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America Set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are. Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human - and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.
Publisher: New York : Back Bay Books, 2006, c1996
Edition: Back Bay 10th anniversary pbk. ed
ISBN: 9780316066525
0316066524
9780316920049
0316920045
Branch Call Number: FICTION Wallace 1996
Characteristics: xv, 1079 p ; 24 cm

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Too Many Books, Too Little Time: An Incomplete List of All the Books I’m Never Going to Read

One of the biggest disappointments of my life as a reader and as a librarian is that I will never read all the books that I want to. I have a pretty healthy appetite for culture. I’m a reader, I watch a very hefty dose of movies -- both old and new -- and I devour television on more streaming platforms than I would like to admit. I also try to leave my house occasionally. But even without all… (more)

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One of the biggest disappointments of my life as a reader and as a librarian is that I will never read all the books that I want to. I have a pretty healthy appetite for culture. I’m a reader, I watch a very hefty dose of movies -- both old and new -- and I devour television on more streaming platforms than I would like to admit. I also try to leave my house occasionally. But even without… (more)


From Library Staff

Gueuze - This Belgian beer is considered one of the most complex beer styles in the world due to its natural fermentation process and the many kinds of yeast and bacteria in the brew. Pair it with Infinite Jest, with an experimental narrative structure that makes it one of the most stylistically ... Read More »

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OPL_JaneS May 03, 2018

The definitive novel of 1990s postmodernism. The late David Foster Wallace somehow accomplished the impossible--a book both sprawling and intimate, intellectual and pedestrian. The only book I've ever read that really speaks the way the inner voice sounds. Ostensibly, it's a book about drug abuse... Read More »

List - Jane Recommends:
OPL_JaneS Feb 02, 2018

My all-time favorite novel. A sprawling landmark work, telling intertwining stories of a near-future society, seen through the eyes of the residents of a premiere tennis academy and a halfway house.


From the critics


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d
danielpslavik
Feb 03, 2020

June-August

m
mroz0
Jan 21, 2020

Worth reading. I've heard DFW described as a logophile and it's most evident in his use of language and lexicon. Take the time to write down and lookup unfamiliar terms with this one. Definitely read the footnotes too as they're essential to the narrative structure of the novel. Equal parts funny, depressing, horrifying, surreal, absurd and hyper-realistic.

s
sylviebryant
Mar 15, 2019

Lauren’s friend in NYC recommended

OPL_JaneS May 03, 2018

The definitive novel of 1990s postmodernism. The late David Foster Wallace somehow accomplished the impossible--a book both sprawling and intimate, intellectual and pedestrian. The only book I've ever read that really speaks the way the inner voice sounds. Ostensibly, it's a book about drug abuse at a prestigious tennis academy and a Boston-area halfway house, but you'd be better off making a list of things this book isn't about, rather than what it is.

s
Seth_Moses
Sep 25, 2017

One of my absolute favorites!

e
elizali
May 10, 2017

This book took me forever. I am normally a very quick reader; this one took 4 months. It was touch and go for awhile, but so glad I read this. I recommend reading in long stretches; reading on your lunch break isn't enough time to dive in. The times the book was most enjoyable is when I took it on airplanes. While dense, the book is beautiful in its complexities - reminiscent of art nouveau architecture - so rich it is hard to take it all in! This really is a masterpiece.

IanH_KCMO Sep 29, 2016

Don't feel bad if you have this one sent to the branch of your choice and you feel intimidated holding it in your hands. It happens a lot. Infinite Jest is intimidating at first (and a punchline as far as big, heady books go) but if you can make it through the first couple hundred pages and pick up on the novel's rhythm, it might change your life. It's not as tough as everyone makes it out to be, and despite being held up as one of these paragons of capital L Literature, there is a ton of heart and soul and humor in these pages. It's so funny! Like legitimately, laugh out loud hilarious. And also deeply sad and full of broken characters falling apart and broken characters trying to put themselves back together. It's deep, ridiculous, and can change the way you look at the world, and there's a reason the folks who love this book are borderline evangelical about it...which um, yeah, ok I am very evangelical about this book.

f
flyfisher88
Sep 21, 2016

I, as others, had a hard time getting through this book with all the footnotes and multiple themes. What saved me is a blog called infinite summer which gives an outline of the book with comments. It's a has a lot of humor (some of it very unusual). The blog (mentioned above) will help a lot of readers get through it and I think you will like it.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 04, 2016

A polarizing work you'll likely either love or hate. At least if you read it, you can honestly say you've read it (whatever that is good for).

k
kaiseryang7
Apr 06, 2016

It is quite a tome. I was not able to finish the book by the due date, hence the four stars. Will try again later. It is not an easy read, not to say that is a bad thing. Reminded me of trying to get through John Milton or Boccaccio, obviously nuggets of genius in the work, but you need to fully devote your intellect and attention.

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Quotes

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s
Seth_Moses
Sep 25, 2017

The truth will set you free. But not until it's finished with you.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 05, 2016

Everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else.

c
chiem14
Mar 05, 2013

“The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.”

Notices

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c
chiem14
Mar 05, 2013

Other: Warning: this novel contains extreme epic-ness - along with language, drug references and other stuff.

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