Say something about yourself!
The audio version is inferior to the print version. I have attempted to read this book multiple times and find it too daunting. Having an audio version to listen to in the car to/from work and then pick up with the print version is a better option for me.
The footnotes not being included is disappointing but you'll just have to read along.
I think other reviewers that suggested having the print copy on hand are dead on.
I do think that some of the vitriol in a few of these reviews is unwarranted. If you have any idea about this work (enough to get that upset about the disservice done here) you must have known what you were getting into, right?
In the end this audiobook is not perfect but coach me through my print copy of the book.
Fictional characters in narrative
Only a certain amount of jest can be gained from preoccupation with drug experience where the laughs tend to peter out, but there was definitely some writing talent shown at times, via authors observation, introspection, turn of phrase, directness, and yes of course from making jest of such lowered life,
though choosing substance use and abuse as one key subject makes jest come rather by default, as sitting ducks, shooting fish in a barrel, that kind of thing.
The story wasn't much, but the writing was better.
This is one of my favorite books of all time, and contrary to some of the other readers' perspectives, I thought the narration was very good--it's pretty incredible that one person could do such a broad range of characters.
Plusses of the Audible version: hearing the characters "acted" out can be helpful in understanding the sequence of action, the subtleties of interpersonal dynamics, etc. It's also pretty entertaining. Plus--who has time to read a 1000 page novel? This was nice to listen to on my morning runs, while getting ready in the morning, etc. (though I found that I coudn't listen while driving--as it required too much concentration ;). All in all--having this version accessible was an awesome treat!
Minuses of the Audible version: as other listeners have noted, it's VERY hard to keep track of the anachronistic plot with the audio version since you can't easily skip back to a certain portion and review what happened, etc. in order to make sense of what's going on in a particular scene. Also, this version is absolutely useless unless you have a copy of the endnotes to go with it--large parts of the plot simply wont make complete sense without them--as far as I'm concerned, this version is a tool for IJ readers, but not a substitute for having a paper/kindle version. Finally, at 56 hours of DENSE listening, this version took me months to get through--if you are a fast reader, expect this to take at least 2-4 as long as it would actually take you to read the book--and speeding it up isn't helpful unless you are paying super close attention to all of the myriad of details that the book covers in each sentence/paragraph/section.
I'll admit--at first, I hated the Audible version--it was so slow and hard to follow, but honestly, so is the book--it's only when you get going with it that it starts to really take off and things start to make sense and become interesting, so in this regard, having it narrated by someone with such a diverse range was really helpful for me :)
I love to be read to!
I'm not finished this book yet but what is getting me through is the narrator Sean Pratt. I am learning that the narrator makes or beaks audiobooks. Infinite Jest is a challenging read/listen and this narrator is making this experience happen for me.
Starts with a high school tennis player freaking out in college interview, segues to a Marijuana addict in Boston, Arab doctor in Boston, pro football kicker in Phoenix, beauty from Kentucky, cycling back to family running a tennis academy in Boston, father an expert on optics and dabbling in perfecting an engrossing video entertainment, sought by Canadian Quebec separatists, all interacting with substance abusers (12 steppers, obsessives). Absolutely brilliant with many threads, many entertaining (!) and insightful themes and interactions. It does not coalesce well at the end, not surprisingly given the huge ambition, but well worth the time. Absolutely amazing narrator.
I would say that it is in my top 5 favorite books of all time
There are several disturbing parts that may usually scare people off, but DFW does a great job finding the humanity and emotion behind pain. For example, hearing about how J.O Incandenza's suicide affected his sons (not a spoiler) was unbelievably interesting
I would want to meet Hal Incandenza. He is complex and self aware to the point that he seems dangerously vulnerable. His family history is too much for most people, but I think it'd be a rewarding experience to get to know him more. I loved all of his narration
This was a bucket list book for me. I was nervous about starting it, but when I did, I was immediately drawn into the characters. The writing is noticeably superior, and not condescending in anyway. I looked up a lot of esoteric words, but that seemed reflective of the characters more than the author's tone. I think this is great book to start for anyone who is looking to mix things up. It's crazy and addictive
Tied for first.
Anathem by Neal Stephenson. I have listened to Anathem dozens of times and always find it enjoyable. The prose and thoughtfulness in both books is rare.
This narrator is exquisite in his intonations. He nails the mood and age of the speaker. I have looked through the written book and it is daunting to say the least but Sean Pratt's narration makes sense of it.
David Foster Wallace was able to capture some of my growing up moments without ever meeting me. The scene with the drunken father and his son Jim in the garage with the Montclair was like a scene from my life. Father wanting to relive their heyday through a child who is disinterested at best and repulsed at least.
I have to admit that I sought Wikipedia for some insight into the book and found it quite helpful. The years are not numerical but corporate names which have been purchased like the names of some ball fields. Also the bad guys and their quest is a little hard to discover but Wiki lays it out.
I also downloaded the PDF for the endnotes and as a habit, I read a group of them before I read the text so the flow for me is smooth.
I was surprised to find myself in this book. Maybe you will too.
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.
No. Unless they really want to delve in to the addicted mind and psyche in which case it is probably worth reading - the author's insights into AA, addiction, and obsession are keen and thorough.
I think that a good book should not need two reads for basic things like understanding key details. If you do want to tackle this book read about it first. You'll enjoy it MUCH more. It wasn't until a third of the way through the book that I figured out what "Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment" meant - that it was a reference to a year the same as "2016" might be (I have no clue if that's the corresponding year) and not some descriptive marker in one of the character's lives.
The cultural setting should be introduced in a way that adds to the story and character development. Not so that it detracts from it. DFW leaves out crucial details until later in the story - details you NEED to understand when you START the story.
The other aspect of the book that I don't enjoy at all is that a good bit of the prose is, from what I can tell, the author more or less taking immense pleasure in his own wit and writing craft. Given that I am not an author myself, I can't really speak to this in too much detail except to say that I could sense when DFW was going into "self pleasure mode" vs. actually writing a book.
One of the key tenants of good literature, in my opinion, is that no part of it should be able to be removed without damaging the work. Some parts of this book could be removed, and the work would be improved. Omit ---- needless ---- words.
Footnotes. Ugh. f you do some research, you'll discover that the footnotes are key for understanding the work, and more importantly from what I've read, you should read the footnotes as you are reading the book.
If this is the case, then the footnotes should be read (perhaps by a different reader, say, for example, that woman that keeps interrupting us with footnote numbers) in line with the story itself. Doing so would certainly not detract from the story organization, since the whole thing is chaotically organized anyway.
Some aspects of the story reflect DFW's sense of humor, which I do not like. I don't particularly find the wheeled legless Canadian special agents all that entertaining. I think it's kind of stupid, personally.
The author gets some technical details so far wrong that it is distracting. For example, there is one scene where the sun casts a shadow across two figures over a city from a mountain. The author describes how the shadow of the figures grows and encompasses the whole city as the sun sets. Thats... uh... not at all how it works. The sun is bigger than a person, just a bit, and a person does not at all cast a shadow on a city any more than a small satellite that passes in front of the sun occludes the earth. Details like that, which are missed, are distracting.
Lastly, the story is predictable. I had read about some kind of surprise ending. I found it to be totally predictable in pretty much every way after about a third of the way into it. The plot is unimaginative in this regard.
Yes, the reader was great.
Ugh. It would be SO depressing.
Do not read this book unless you might enjoy diving into depression, addiction, loneliness, depravity, and unless you have a deep love of well crafted but otherwise useless sentences.