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.
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