23 May 2020

Book Review: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace


Unfortunately I couldn't get back the two months I have lost in reading this book. I can't believe it took the author more than a thousand pages to say whatever it was he wanted to say. And the bizarre thing is that one thousand pages later, I still don't know what he wanted to say. I don't even have a clear idea what happened in the book. And yes, I do consult the Wikipedia article for the book, and I don't understand how the article authors even figured out enough to be able to write that article.

See, there's plenty of tennis. There's also plenty of drugs. And there's plenty of footnotes. Scenes came and went. There were some bizarrely funny scenes, like this game of Eschaton that resembled World War III. But beyond these funny episodes, I really don't have a clue what exactly happened in the book, aside from the fact that there were plenty of tennis matches, plenty of drug addicts, and plenty of other bizarre wacko characters.

The one neat thing that I guess I would comment on is this footnote structure. Some of the footnotes made sense, others absolutely didn't. There was a footnote that was basically a bibliography of fake literature, one after another. I didn't exactly get the point. Perhaps it was more a visual thing, something that your eyes just need to look at, and not actually read. In any case, it was amusing, but just for a second.

The thing is, I am less inclined to see this book as a literary genius, but more really just a cure for insomnia. It was too long for what it was trying to achieve, whatever that was. It was very uncontrolled, expansive, and without a point, unless the point was to bore the reader. Because for me, the two months that I took to read this monolith was definitely boring. I rarely do this, but this time, I am giving this book 1 out of 5 stars. Utterly not recommendable.

See my other book reviews here.

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