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Infinite Jest | [David Foster Wallace]

Infinite Jest

A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are.
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Audible Editor Reviews

"Pratt is a startlingly good narrator, dry and expressive, with the kind of vocal control that evokes dozens of characters with only slight but very distinctive variations of accent and affect.... Pratt hears the humor in Wallace's work, and lets you in on the joke without resorting to overheated wackiness. His control and stamina are impressive." (John Schwartz, The New York Times Book Review)

Publisher's Summary

A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are.

Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human - and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.

Please note: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material, including endnotes, will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

A Note from Hachette Audio
We are deeply honored to be the audio publisher of David Foster Wallace's works, and are keenly aware of the great responsibility that attends the privilege. We felt that it was important to make Infinite Jest accessible in the audio format as soon as we were able, and are gratified to find that there is an audience that has been waiting for just this occasion.

Some early listeners have been disappointed that the novel's endnotes are currently available only in text form, to be read. Choosing to include the endnotes as a downloadable PDF file, rather than as a recording by the narrator, was a difficult decision for all involved, and we debated different options at length before beginning production. The audio format allows us great opportunities to showcase Wallace's love of language and grammatical dexterity, to illuminate characters and their relationships, and to bring out some of the unique humor inherent in his work. However, there are also certain limitations to the format, and we needed let go of some of our preconceived notions about the form of Infinite Jest, as we must when we adapt any complex work to audio.

The compromise we ended up with was heavily influenced by practical concerns, especially those regarding the limitations of current technology. Because some of the endnotes are pages-long digressions, if we had them read in line with the main narrative, we would have run the risk of making the already complex story unfollowable for listeners. In the end, we decided the audiobook would flow best by having the endnotes indicated by number throughout the narrative by an additional narrator. However, we acknowledge that these choices may not work for all listeners. Accordingly, our future plans are to produce the endnotes as an additional, stand-alone audio piece.

©2006 David Foster Wallace (P)2012 Hachette

What the Critics Say

“[A]n exhilarating, breathtaking experience. This book teems with so much life and death, so much hilarity and pain, so much gusto in the face of despair that one cheers for the future of our literature.” (Newsday)

"[A] postmodern saga of damnation and salvation…resourceful, hilarious, intelligent, and unique.” (The Atlantic Monthly)

"[C]ompulsively entertaining… one of the big talents of his generation, a writer of virtuosic skills who can seemingly do anything.” (New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (445 )
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4.0 (383 )
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Story
4.2 (382 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Keith VINE GROVE, KY, United States 01-08-14
    Keith VINE GROVE, KY, United States 01-08-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    4
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    "How I Experienced Infinite Jest"
    Any additional comments?

    This great novel is a long book, made longer by the foot-end-notes. Unfortunately, I had read and heard folks say that those little footnotes are both enjoyable and necessary to tie plot points and characters together. I agree. But so and because they are necessary I had to find some way to incorporate them into the audio-book experience. This way suited me the best: I listened to the book on my way into work and on the way home from work. Once the female narrator cued a footnote, I would simply pause the audio and switch to FM, usually classic rock, but sometimes sports or NPR and continue the drive into work or home depending on the time of day. Upon arriving, I would pull out my physical copy of IJ and read the footnote. Of course, I also listened to the audio form in the evenings and weekends, but I found the drive time listening the most satisfying. I looked forward to work for some 2 months, and likewise enjoyed my drive home. Some days I could get no more than a few minutes in before switching off, but that was fine. **Important** I also would back-reference the page from the text to the end note for future readings as I plan to start over pretty soon. (Like foot/end note 1. is on page 2, etc)

    For some reason, I can't get this entertainment out of my head...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anna Pooler, GA, USA 12-10-13
    Anna Pooler, GA, USA 12-10-13 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Color me amazed"
    Any additional comments?

    I never thought anyone would be nuts enough to even attempt to make an audio recording of this novel. Not only did they attempt the impossible, they NAILED it! This narrator is phenomenal! He contributes so much to each character's voice with his nuanced (not at all cartoony) and widely varied accents. Best of all for me is how he chose to perform Mario Incandenza. He made my favorite character even more heartbreakingly lovable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dave dsds, MA, United States 12-01-13
    dave dsds, MA, United States 12-01-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "too hard to read"
    What disappointed you about Infinite Jest?

    The book did not have the kindle part and that should be included


    What could David Foster Wallace have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    The book did not have the kindle part and that should be included


    Would you be willing to try another one of Sean Pratt’s performances?

    The book did not have the kindle part and that should be included


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The book did not have the kindle part and that should be included


    Any additional comments?

    The book did not have the kindle part and that should be included

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn NARBERTH, PENNSYLVANIA, United States 11-06-13
    Carolyn NARBERTH, PENNSYLVANIA, United States 11-06-13 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    1
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    Story
    "ONLY LISTEN IF YOU HAVE ALREADY READ THE BOOK"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    As stated in another review, this book is an excellent choice for those who have already read Infinite Jest and want to stay with the characters a little longer. I urge all readers to read the actual book and only listen to the audiobook after completing it. The endnotes in this book are not mere footnotes; they are an integral part of the story. Without reading them with the story (as in audiobook form), one loses so much meaning. Reading Infinite Jest without reading the endnotes at the same time is not truly reading Infinite Jest.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Seth AUSTIN, TX, United States 10-26-13
    Seth AUSTIN, TX, United States 10-26-13 Member Since 2012

    smfdfw

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not for everyone...and yes, no footnotes"
    What disappointed you about Infinite Jest?

    If they decided not to include footnotes, why the annoying insertion of a female voice saying the footnote number? This book is not unabridged.


    What does Sean Pratt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He is the most amazing performer, ever. The narrator is unbelievably talented.


    Any additional comments?

    Brilliant book, but I would not recommend reading this if you are prone to depression, Although you will laugh at times, this is not a comedy. Its mostly very dark and leaves you feeling like everyone is a misanthrope drug abuser. Also, know what you are getting into - 55 hours of audio book means you'll be investing quite a bit of time fighting off that depression.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    steve Morgantown, WV, United States 10-13-13
    steve Morgantown, WV, United States 10-13-13 Member Since 2011
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    3
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    "Utterly Engaging"
    What made the experience of listening to Infinite Jest the most enjoyable?

    DFW has an amazing and distinctive writing style that translates surprisingly well to audiobook. The narrator is outstanding, which really helps. but the writing is so evocative that it really engages all of your senses.

    I saw a lot of complaints about the lack of footnotes in the audio recording. From what DFW says about the footnotes, and the fact that they were printed as end notes in the actual book, I think the publishers made the right choice to include them as a separate pdf. They are too long and complex to interweave in the audio narrative. It's not a big deal to download the pdf and put it on various devices and check every few footnotes as you go along. It does help to have a printed copy of the book as well to provide context, but that's not essential if you don't get too far behind.But definitely do NOT skip footnotes. They are quite entertaining and include many essential plot points.

    This book is unlike anything I've read. The shifts in perspective, tone, pace, and chronology are often jarring, but also well-calculated. The book is at turns moving, sickening, frightening, and hilariously funny. And the use of language and vocabularly, including a good number of invented but fully understandable words, is highly entertaining.Listen and read. It's worth it!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy Wellington, FL, United States 10-02-13
    Timothy Wellington, FL, United States 10-02-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just boring"
    What disappointed you about Infinite Jest?

    I drive 3 hours a day and I just found myself not paying attention to this story. It has been the least engaging book I have ever listened to.


    What was most disappointing about David Foster Wallace’s story?

    After several hours of listening, I still had no idea what the story was about and at that point I didn't want to know.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stewart Campsie, Australia 08-02-13
    Stewart Campsie, Australia 08-02-13
    ratings
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    "Worth the slog!"
    What made the experience of listening to Infinite Jest the most enjoyable?

    A breathtaking depth of worldbuilding, spoken with a voice not dissimilar from DFW's own. This book changed my life. Heartbreaking and hilarious in one sweep.


    What other book might you compare Infinite Jest to and why?

    It is incomparable to anything else, but probably its closest relative would be Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Poor Tony Krause's seizure on the T.


    If you could take any character from Infinite Jest out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Jim Incandenza (Himself)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David SWISSVALE, PA, United States 06-30-13
    David SWISSVALE, PA, United States 06-30-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Can't really rate - couldn't listen"
    What disappointed you about Infinite Jest?

    File failed on my iphone or ipad after chapter 2. Contacted audible chat, was walked through installing audible app on devices and downloading that way. That only made audiobooks go away completely as options on my devices. So I am returning the book, since I could only listen to it on my laptop.


    Would you ever listen to anything by David Foster Wallace again?

    yes, listened to Broom of the System and enjoyed it very much.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lindsey Minford, OH, United States 04-24-13
    Lindsey Minford, OH, United States 04-24-13 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    2
    2
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    "I wanted to love it."
    Would you try another book from David Foster Wallace and/or Sean Pratt?

    Absolutely. The story was engaging and Sean Pratt does a fine job of narrating.


    What about Sean Pratt’s performance did you like?

    His word flow is nice and easy to listen to and his character voices were just different enough to give them personality without being distracting.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No. I'm not sure that this book would translate into a movie well at all.


    Any additional comments?

    This format did not work well with an audio book. The end notes are so important, but I'm sure most listeners are like me and listen while busy doing other things (like driving) so having to read them separately in PDF wasn't ideal, to say the least.

    I ended up returning it instead of listening to the whole thing because it was becoming too much work to try and keep up. This is definitely a book that is designed to be read instead of listened to. There are too many things added to the story in the end notes, so skipping them, or saving them for later, takes too much away from the experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 31-40 of 48 results PREVIOUS1345NEXT
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  • pedersen.nyegaard@wanadoo.dk
    Århus, Denmark
    12/7/12
    Overall
    "Almost perfect"

    A treat. Brilliant reading of the most earth-shaking English prose in the last 30 (or more) years. David Foster Wallace is incomparable, and Sean Pratt's reading is dynamic and flexible - the only flaw being the end-notes which are not read, but which you have to read yourself (you receive a PDF-file when buying the audiobook). And yes, it's long, but it's well worth the time.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • clive
    chesterfield, United Kingdom
    1/23/13
    Overall
    "Spectacular - don't be daunted"

    This is what audiobooks are for - listening to great, daunting seeming books you'd never read. This book is spectacular. You can't expect to have the loose ends tied up, or to know what's going on half the time, but you can expect to be gripped and thoroughly entertained and to fall into a different world. Definitely worth listening to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Alison
    SELBY, United Kingdom
    4/14/13
    Overall
    "A Real Epic!"

    Downloaded this to listen to while I exercise and it's a real page-turner, so to speak! Definitely worth using a credit for, give it a go!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-3 of 3 results

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