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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 (528 )
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4.2 (458 )
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Performance
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  •  
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 07-21-14
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 07-21-14 Member Since 2014

    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.

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    "AN EXAMINED LIFE"

    “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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark United States 06-18-14
    Mark United States 06-18-14 Listener Since 2008
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    "Infinitely boring..."
    What did you like best about Infinite Jest? What did you like least?

    I love some of his descriptions of place and people. But, I am not that terribly interested in tennis or drug addicts.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    I did not finish the book.


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

    Sean had a voice that worked perfectly for this story. He did a great job.


    Did Infinite Jest inspire you to do anything?

    Download a different book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane LANGLEY, WA, United States 05-27-14
    Diane LANGLEY, WA, United States 05-27-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Not Sure"
    Would you try another book from David Foster Wallace and/or Sean Pratt?

    Don't know.


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

    My mind wanders, just like the story.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Once in awhile there was something funny, like realizing I too put packing tape near my phone.


    What character would you cut from Infinite Jest?

    Don't know.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm about 2/3 of the way into only the FIRST part. Keep telling myself to listen just a bit more and something grand will happen, but don't know if it's worth spending 50+ hours to possibly end up disappointed even more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jm 05-20-14
    jm 05-20-14
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    "Best performance ever"
    What made the experience of listening to Infinite Jest the most enjoyable?

    I am on my 3rd listening. This is an amazing work that I am at a loss to describe. The point of this review is to express how excellent the performance of the reader is. His tone matches the tone of the writing perfectly. It is truly an extraordinary performance.


    Have you listened to any of Sean Pratt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not, but I will. Sean Pratt is brilliant.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dylan Clayton, CA, United States 03-24-14
    Dylan Clayton, CA, United States 03-24-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Good If You've Read Book Before"
    What did you love best about Infinite Jest?

    Would take too long to explain. But the 4th Grade version is: IT'S MAGICAL. I've never felt so attached to a book before. It's the kind of book/experience that forever after your ears perk up whenever you catch the slightest intonation of it being mentioned in a passing conversation, and then disregard all social inhibitions and start haranguing everyone in hearing distance about how great of a book it is, etc.


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

    Gravity's Rainbow. Gaddis' The Recognitions. Sharon Old's poetry.


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

    Consistant tone, and the absolute butchering of all words French.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Are You Prepared To Be Entertained? or Consider Your Entertainment.

    I'm not a copy writer.


    Any additional comments?

    Nope.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keith VINE GROVE, KY, United States 01-08-14
    Keith VINE GROVE, KY, United States 01-08-14 Member Since 2009
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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
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    Anna 12-10-13
    Anna 12-10-13 Member Since 2009
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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
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    dave dsds, MA, United States 12-01-13
    dave dsds, MA, United States 12-01-13
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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
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    "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 10-26-13
    Seth 10-26-13 Member Since 2013

    smfdfw

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    "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
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