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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2006 David Foster Wallace (P)2012 Hachette
“[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)
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.
The recording has too much bass so the words are not distinct or lively. I had to stop listening while driving since it was not conducive to being alert.
No follow up book when the author has deceased please.
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.
By day, I study early 20th century literature. By night, I enjoy good contemporary fiction and thrilling suspense/detective novels.
listen to infinite jest. enjoy subsidized time. drink a cold foamer. inhale on a gasper. expand your vocabulary. be infinitely entertained.
I will never again knowingly purchase another title voiced by Scott Brick.
This story is much less story rather than witnessing a writer indulge himself in overly precious word-craft. Strange, caricatured and unlikeable characters populate this [story?], as detailed in oddly constructed meandering sentences which seem to be more about word choice than actually making a point.
If you are a masochist and wish to spend hours rolling your eyes, this is the book for you.
Points to the narrator, though, he did his best with what he was dealt.
There are no notifications for end notes 224-255. The first missing notification is around the time Lenz finds a way to deal with his rage and powerlessness issues and the last is around the time Gately has to deal with the way Lenz deals with his rage and powerlessness issues.
The end notes are an integral part of the novel. They are meant to be read as one is reading the book. They are not "optional." The same voice that reads the end note numbers, let's call her "Number 24," could also read the the actual end notes and enjoyment of the novel would be greatly enhanced.
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.
Thoroughly ascerbic examination of addiction, both chemical and otherwise, though and but with, like, a kind of conversational type delivery; at once circuitous, circumspect and striving.
Yeah. Ok. There's just not really any way to summarize or quickly describe the experience of listening to this audiobook. If you stick with it, you'll either find it to be one of the few life-changing literary experiences out there, or you'll want to kill everyone responsible for your spending 50 hours on a fool's errand. I'm in the former category. But you are you. Just remember-- "The truth will set you free. But not until it's done with you."
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