I’m within twenty pages of finishing Infinite Jest, and I’m dragging it out as long as possible. It’s like trying to avoid being dumped. I’ve spent months with this book, I’m invested. It doesn’t help that he’s saved the really sad, gross addiction stories for last. I’m sort of at a loss as far as what to do next.
It’s the kind of book smarty-pants like for its creation of new forms of reading; and it does that, it’s true. I like the footnotes, I like the back and forth, the fact that you need two bookmarks, the pyrotechnics involved in writing a thousand plus page novel with no ending and hundreds of digressions. But that isn’t why people like it, or why they bother with it, it’s because it’s an enormously compassionate, funny, enjoyable book, with characters that feel like family. And the pyrotechnics make sense if you think that only an addictive, obsessive personality would write a thousand page novel about addictions and obsessions with hundreds of footnotes. It’s not driven by theory, it embodies them in the midst of telling a story. Which I like.