If it weren't for Audible I'd never get any reading done.
I waited a long time to read Infinite Jest since I depend heavily on audiobooks to keep up on my reading???I have a long commute, a busy job, kids, etc.???so I was very glad to see IJ become available. Having spent a month making my way through it with the audiobook AND a kindle version, reading every footnote, using Internet wikis to keep track of the story, exceptional vocabulary and references, I declare that I loved the book. It's a Ulysses for the 90's, combining erudition and a pop culture sensibility.
The reader does OK. He puts on some good Boston accents, but he's clearly no French speaker. There are some annoying edits inserted around the first half or so, as some producer clearly freaked out and made him correct the pronunciation of several French phrases and DFW's patented weird vocabulary. Still, give the poor bastard some credit--this must have taken him a month to record.
I understand the decision to leave out the footnotes, but it does seem like corner-cutting. If DFW were still alive, I bet he would have called for some clever compromise, such as putting the footnotes on a separate audio file in a different voice, or writing some comments for the reader to add, such as "That's just an explanation of the drug he's taking," or "Seriously, don't skip this one." Audiobook makers seem to forget that their products are performances like any other, and need not be a literal recitation treating the text as a sacred object.
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.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
“Infinite Jest” is an excruciating story of a closely examined life. Great credit is earned by the original publisher. To complete “Infinite Jest’s” stream-of-consciousness journey is an arduous task. It is too long. As one of Wallace’s characters says, I hear you but the explanation has “too many words”.
Every created character is a part of who David Foster Wallace is or wants to be. Wallace’s self-absorption, destructive behavior, and vulnerability seep from every ink-stained page; from every enunciated sentence. His “Infinite Jest” becomes real and complete with his wasted suicide at age 46.
“Infinite Jest” is about addiction. “Infinite Jest” argues that modern civilization is jaded by plenty. Movies, pornography, drugs, and other distracting entertainments are so plentiful that escape from trials of life becomes the purpose of life. Human success is redefined. Escape from conflict replaces drive for money, power, and prestige. Obsessive/compulsive behavior focuses on immediate gratification.
No question,“Infinite Jest” is a brilliant piece of work. However, it is David Foster Wallace’s “one percenter’s” view of life. This is a sad, depressing story because Wallace trivialized his life by committing suicide. If society is addicted to entertainment then Wallace infers suicide is a harbinger of the future. This is a myopic view of humanity but a true story of a closely examined life.
"The Pale King" was my first exposure to the writing of David Foster Wallace and I liked it.
Most reviews of "Infinite Jest" on Audible complained a great deal about not having the "footnotes", several claiming that, without them, the book was not worth listening to. But, I took a shot, anyway. And I was blown away. Sean Pratt's narration may have been the key to my enjoyment. His delivery made music of Wallace's words. Of course, the plot wanders and the characters are multitude and their narratives come flying abruptly out of left field and it seems like no plot thread is ever tied up, ever. And, It takes some time and mental gymnastics to see the fabric of the story(s). But the overall effect, for me, was brilliant. In this case, an American masterpiece of the spoken word. As good a collaboration of author and narrator is I've ever heard. It ended far too soon. I don't know if I would have been able to read it and feel the same. .
I don't write book reports.
When I was asking my friends on what I should read next, they suggested "Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace. When the book was first published in 1996, the audio version wasn't available and to be honest, I was having too much fun in the 90's to be reading. I remembered seeing this author in interviews and wanting to dive in this book. Fast forward to the present day, I finally got through this book and this is the best title that I've read thus far in the year. David Foster Wallace's humor is my taste of comedy, but his story about addiction and depression is profound.
I've read many books on addictions and how they overcame their problem by taking the steps, and even though the story of "Infinite Jest" is fictional, the characters seems to be more realistic with their addictions and depressions. If you are reading this review and thinking that this book is just all about addictions, I'm not doing justice to the novel.
Addiction is just one part of the story in "Infinite Jest." Somehow, the author incorporated most of the seven deadly sins through his characters. The sins aren't obvious while you are reading, but they should come to you once you get through the entire story. I'm not going to give examples from the book because I don't like to give spoilers, but DFW is a remarkable author.
It took me less than two weeks to finish the book. 56 hours went by quickly. Many of my friends said that it took them a long time to get to the last page. You really should form a group together to discuss each "Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment." It will help you decipher each chapter and it is the best way to understand DFW's writing.
While I was reading, my friends and I would have discussions of each main parts of the story and it helped me comprehend the entire concept better.
One of my friends mentioned that David Foster Wallace's storytelling is not linear with the traditional storyline. I happen to agree with her and compare his writing to David Mitchel in "Cloud Atlas." Both of their styles are similar to each other and want to draw me more to their other titles.
I don't remember characters' names in any books that I read. My mind doesn't pay attention to names. I see characters as figures on a spreadsheet, like A, B, C, and so on. In "Infinite Jest," the characters' actions are so bizarre that you can't forget where you left off.
There is one major flaw in the audio version. The endnotes aren't included in the audio and I can see why the publisher omitted them out. They are included in a pdf, but trying to listen to the story and scrolling through 98 pages of notes is hard to do.
Luckily, the listener can purchase the endnotes separately in audio. I will be listening to them after I finish this review because they are the most important part of the story.
This year is almost over and I've read my fair amount of titles, but "Infinite Jest" is what I was looking for to break up the same repertoire of subjects in my library.
I would recommend "Infinite Jest" to anyone where your thought bubbles are in a disarray like mine.
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.
This recording comes highly recommended, with one powerful caveat.
The novel itself is brilliant and complex, full of important themes and messages as it follows the interconnected lives of some generally screwed-up people in various walks of life. It's entertaining and fascinating, full of tragedy and pathos, but with the ability to make me laugh out loud repeatedly. The sometimes insular and disjointed writing style reminds me of Thomas Pynchon, which my English-major daughter tells me was an influence on Wallace.
The narrator does a brilliant job with a very difficult work - a commendable performance. His inflections are spot-on, use of accents and voicing is excellent. Will look for Sean Pratt in other works.
However, the decision to exclude the footnotes, except to mention their number as they occur, is a seriously flawed one. There is a lot going on in the footnotes, which essentially means that this is NOT truly an unabridged production, and that you need a print or ebook version of the novel to get the full experience. I fortunately do have access to the book on my Kindle, so after every hour or two of listening, I could go back and read the footnotes, referring back to the context as needed. It would be very much an inferior experience without this ability.
before I became a believer. Of course I mean David Foster Wallace’s work, and I think I went about it backward—starting with “The Broom of the System,” then on to “The Pale King” (discussed here in an earlier writing), and finally, “Infinite Jest”—the novel that jettisoned him into stellar notoriety, and the topic of this post.
As always, I entered Wallace’s epic novel bewildered. So many self-absorbed characters and, really, uninteresting topics (prep-school tennis? mixed with a Canadian terrorist group bent on finding a film with proven potential to control the world, a recovering drug addict’s profound fear of becoming addicted again while recovering from devastating wounds from being hurled into an impromptu street fight, and oh so more countless plots and subplots). And yet, they all were actually absorbing and insightful. The writing was over-arching in social criticism, humor, and inexplicable inter-weavings, not to mention iconic craftsmanship and captivating writing that summons one back to the page as if a spell had been cast. And so, after hours and hours of reading, I was sorry to see them all go away and at the same time was abrim with angst knowing that in the last 100 pages there was no way in hell Wallace was going to button-up these loosely threaded stories with their overwrought personalities, leaving my recovering-virgo personality to twist in the wind, wondering.
I am grateful for having the perseverance of picking up the big tome. Having now become a believer, I grieve that other than the remaining writings I collected, there will be no more.
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.