It is rare that I read a book that makes me angry because it so good. I'm reading this, thinking to myself "I wish I could write like this. I could NEVER write like this."
I am not even halfway finished and I already love this book. Everything about it is beautifully done; the characters, the story, the plot, the prose, everything. It is a tragedy that David Foster Wallace took his own life and left the world bereft of any more of his work. It is clear that the man had many demons of his own to deal with and that those demons finally were too much to handle.
I have to thank the author Michael Chabon for introducing this book to me in CHabon's "Manhood For Amateurs". I have no idea how I never had read any Wallace before now, but I plan on devouring any of his work I can get my hands on.
There are a lot of reviews on here that say that there aren't endnotes. There are, they are just in a PDF that you download separately. Unfortunately, they are not in audio, but they are there.
This is an amazing and beautiful piece of literature, and I don't use that word very often, that is both humorous and poignant. It evoked so many different emotions from me as I listened that at times I was a little breathless.
Yes, I liked this story. It made me laugh. It made me weep. I sent gift copies to people I love, and I sent a copy to someone I hate. They deserved it. I think some of the best stories might for instance be set in a tennis school, or at AAmeetings. I sure learned a lot about depression and drugs and stuff, as well as lots of new words like "annular" and ummmm, Annular and well yes, annular. Plus some others.
This story was interesting for me because I could listen to it. It was like being told a story, or like my big brother who I look up to, not hitting me with a tennis ball, kind of bouncing it on my head, over and over and telling me that he thinks post modern is over and we are now definitely post post modern and that we should all be playing virtual eschaton and watching out that we don't get too clinically depressed because if we do, we will become addicted to reading very long novels where the author makes fun of us for reading what he writes before he takes his own life, to show us he meant what he said about it being all one big joke. Seriously!
At 56 hours, I heard a guy down the valley couldn't stop and perished of dehydration. So I always keep a glass of Gatorade next to me just in case I get too engrossed.
Dear David. Thank you. We will miss you.
This is a great title that sounds better spoken than it looks on page.
However, Infinite Jest contains nearly 400 footnotes that convey invaluable plot information. The audiobook does NOT contain these, although it does contain references to them. This means that this audiobook is an excellent companion to the text, but you WILL NOT understand the narrative if attempt to only listen to this audiobook, while never purchasing the text and checking the footnotes.
The way I did it, Infinite Jest's 1000+ pages of 8 point font with no white space on the page is awful hard to make it through. Listening to the audiobook greatly sped up what would have been a six month reading project. Alternate this with reading.
Listening to Infinite Jest is an experience of hearing the work of a virtuoso performer. These 900+ pages include four-page paragraphs (3000 words) which Pratt reads in a way that keeps them engaging and fresh from beginning to end. The same can be said about his reading of the entire novel.
His accomplishment can't be fully appreciated without reading a few pages of the text while he performs it. I find myself listening to random selections from the download two or three times, and I enjoy listening to the words and sentences without concern about how the fit into something larger. I don't think I've ever done this with another book.
I thought the performance by Sean Pratt was just excellent. He made each character come alive (with, for example, different voices even for the characters that didn't have obvious accents). I looked for other fiction titles by this reader.
I also liked the way that footnotes were dealt with compared to the alternative of inserting them in a different voice. It's never going to be perfect, dealing with footnotes, because some readers read each footnote right when it appears, some never read them, and others catch up on them periodically. I can see how this would not be ideal for fastidious or visually impaired listeners, but for a listener like me, who would go to the footnotes periodically while reading, this setup was perfect.
The book itself I enjoyed enough to reread in print. I am catching a lot more of the humor this way--already familiar with the characters and more patient with the footnotes--but the more touching, emotional aspects of the book were well conveyed in audio. I would recommend the audiobook to the any reader who tried and failed to "get through" Infinite Jest in print. The audio was a pleasure to listen to for the full 56+ hours, which is saying a lot.
The book is wonderful. The reader is masterful. The endnotes are not there. Unless you count the pdf files. I listen to audiobooks while I work, which does not afford me the luxury of being able to stop and read each endnote as they occur in the book.
I am not a scholar of Infinite Jest. If these were your average endnotes I wouldn't care that they were missing. I listen purely for entertainment. But the endnotes are a huge part of this book. Who ever thought to remove them made a big big mistake.
I still enjoyed the book. But I'd recommend NOT buying it until this endnote fiasco is resolved.
At the top, except for the frustration over having to run to the book to read the endnotes.
He captured Wallace's narration voice and every character's voice perfectly. This is probably the greatest performance of a book I've ever listened to (and I've listened to about a hundred).
Both, and it made me curse every time I missed an endnote.
Anyone willing to listen to 56 hours of this wouldn't mind listening to another 10 in order to hear all the endnotes. I think it was a terrible mistake not to include them. Other than that, this is one of the greatest books ever written, and one of the greatest performances by a reader.
Nothing about this book appealed to me. I made it 6 hours into the book before giving up. The story doesn't seem to have a point and is written in a disjointed and impossible to follow manner.
Added a plot.
Yes. It is a vastly important book in a postmodern world. The narrative is non traditional and aims to give you a feeling rather than the sense of a whole story, so you will not know what "happens" to the characters after the feeling has been accurately portrayed.
The entire novel is memorable, everything fits together by the end.
I read most of the book and then finished it with the audio book, Sean Pratt adds a lot to it. All of the characters get a separate voice, often in the novel dialogue would get confusing as to who is talking, Sean Pratt's performance helps with understanding those scenes.
NO the audiobook is 56 hours long. Not only is it 56 hours but for the first few hours you can only listen for 20-30 minutes at a time. David Foster Wallace's writing is very dense and it takes a while for everything to sink in. This is not a book to marathon, it is a book to savor. The language and the characters are so wonderful and you should really take the time to listen to them.
Listen to this book. It is so wonderful and so important.