... much of a story.
Genius is overused, but I believe it applied to David Foster Wallace. The man's knowledge and ability to communicate were nonpareil. Listening to this, I couldn't help but be awed by his command of the language. I could probably randomly go to a section and find a dazzling sentence. That said, I value story much higher than technique and ideally, I like to lose myself in the story and only be aware of technique on a subconscious level. That's impossible to do here. As a lover of language, sure, I enjoyed seeing these verbal acrobatics, but at some point, the story and the characters have to take over. That just didn't happen for me. While I found the characters unique, they were only somewhat interesting. And the story failed to engage me.
I'm glad I listened to this and don't feel time was wasted. But unlike other long books considered classics -- Ulysses, War and Peace, Anna Karenina -- I have no intention of listening to this again.
Former editor at The New York Times and Farrar Straus & Giroux. Looking for work.
Reading "Infinite Jest" as an audio book may be the best possible way of doing this book. The narrator (Sean Pratt) injects dozens of voices and effects, so that having him in your ear for 56 hours (yes) is like listening to several radio stations for days at a time. The book is legendary. The author has become mythic. Sure it's long. And there are valleys (it helps if someone is interested in the workings of New England private schools -- I am -- or in the intricacies of playing junior competitive tennis -- I am not) but there are not just hills but mountains. Lots of jokes too. In order to be part of the zeitgeist, it certainly helps to have read this book. If nothing else, it's influenced so many others. Now, perhaps, I'll see the movie.
Of course "Gravity's Rainbow" or any Pynchon. Some "Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas." And a touch of "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe" and "Another Roadside Attraction" or any Tom Robbins.
Are. You. Kidding?
Narrator is brilliant, despite mispronouncing a word or two and stumbling almost every time he had to say "Postlethwaite"
Heroic job. I hope he was paid amply.
I'd say I prefer my books to have a beginning and an end, not even necessary in that order but it should wrap up and have a conclusion. closure of some sort. not this one. their were many funny and humorous parts as well as vividly sad stories in rehab settings. No doubt the writing is absolutely great. It rambled along, entertainingly but ultimately to no avail, not for me anyway.
The performance of the different characters was fantastic. But I also recommend buying the ebook, because sometimes it is helpful to read certain sections.
The ongoing mystery to figure out what really happened.
This book is addictive—just like viewers' response to The Entertainment that this book describes, I find myself starting back at the beginning as soon as I finish listening.
Other reviewers have complained about the lack of endnotes. You can download a PDF from Audible by going to your library, then look for the PDF. As for putting the endnotes into the main recording, I have to agree with the producers in thinking that unworkable. Some of the endnotes are a dozen pages long and appear in the middle of a sentence. Don't expect that you can listen to this book while driving. It requires more attention than that.
One quibble, however: at around the midpoint of the audiobook, the female voice reading the endnote numbers disappears for a while. You can actually hear the gaps when the numbers are meant to be read. This makes a print or ebook copy especially useful.
Sean Pratt does an incredible job narrating, making IJ a joy to listen to. For any potential listeners, I would say read the book first, as listening to it without reading will be confusing.
I have a brother, we started playing hide and seek back in '78. He still hasn't found me.
To put it simply, DFW can have a book this long. As long as it is, it tugs at you. It calls you to return to it, because he was that good.
This isn't the sort of book your read for plot. And, if and when you finish it, see if you can figure out the plot. There are plenty of stories out there, this one is essentially made up of memorable vignettes.
All of them. He made the book a 50+ hour 1 man play. Outstanding.
DFW writes about depression in a way that can break your heart. He's also got some of the funniest lines I've ever read, ever.
Holy beautiful super long, deservedly long, hilarious, insightful, thoughtful, total genius, crazy lovely sadness. Thank goodness the audio exists as many more will be able to spend that much time with the sorely missed DFW.
This isn't the madness of Pynchon nor the ... This is DFW.
Give him a try. He may surprise you.
I love the interweaving plot and fragmented story lines that seem so disparate at first, but come kertwanging together and back apart again. I love Mario. I love Don. I feel sad for Hal and Orin. I feel disgust for Lenz; sympathy for Bruce Green and Joelle vD. The characters are so much more poignant than the backdrop of political ONAN-ism (hard to reflect on this pun without eyerolling and smiling begrudgingly). Though the plot is nuanced and good, the characters are just so real and sad they distract from the overly long "outcropping over Tucson" digressions. I identified really hard with the addiction recovery parts of the book at Ennet House. And the strive for excellence parts of ETA. I'm not an addict of an illicit substance, nor a recovering one. I'm just in this like everyone else; my addictions are pedestrian and largely livable. Striving to occur as the inner part of myself that is earnest, honest, and feeling.
I read IJ the first time in huge paperback form. It took me 18 months.This time, I wasn't burdened by needing to lug around not only IJ, but a dictionary as well. In the meantime I read DT Max's biography of the author.This provided much needed context to this work. I also read the DFW Reader; this was what drove me to getting back to IJ.
What do I love most about Infinite Jest? I love how f-ing real the whole thing is. I love that it made it laugh; it made me cry. It made me feel and think. It made me realize that these are equally important phenomena. It made me realize that no matter how smart I think I am, I am much less smart than that. It taught me that people can be sad in different ways. It taught me that the power of entertainment and addiction are not to be f-ed with.
I'm not well-read enough to have a literary comparison off the top of my head.I would compare IJ to Pulp Fiction. The narrative structure and flow are similar, though the content is entirely dissimilar. The Tarantino-esque structure could credibly be called Wallacian if it weren't for chronology. IJ takes PF to the max, adding like 20 additional characters whose backstories are not at all ignored.
He has great voices for the myriad characters. To provide context, the best narrator I've heard is Jim Dale in the Harry Potter series (I'm betraying my age here). I would say on a scale from 1 to Jim Dale, Sean Pratt is a solid 9.5. Some of his voices are silly, but only for minor characters. He animates the text extremely well.
Mario - I love his conversations with family and everyone at ETA.
Himself - What would IJ be without J.O. Incandenza? I love his films.
Don - What a great guy that Don Gately.
Joelle - So like, what's with the veil?
Kate Gompert - so sad.
Lyle - he's a great person to talk to about stuff like this.
It is so hard to choose. DFW does a bang-up job making you care about so many people that are so utterly damaged. (perhaps I use "so" as an adjective too much; I'll start using "super" more often). I can tell you that I hated Lenz. I hated Geoffrey Day. I didn't care for Orin. Despite being polite and well-spoken, Avril made me exceedingly uncomfortable.
The endnotes thing is a little inconvenient, but I completely agree with the audio preface that it would be exceedingly difficult to find a non-annoying way to handle these. Audible would need to be on board to create an interface that makes the endnotes palatable in audio form.
Funny, heartfelt, open view of human struggle. A long, worthy read.
The narrator does an excellent job of maintaining the mood and pace of the work- through all of the exceptionally dense text.