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Infinite Jest Audiobook

Infinite Jest

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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.

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

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

4.2 (1402 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Bradley La Crosse, WI, United States 09-10-12
    Bradley La Crosse, WI, United States 09-10-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Great book, great reader!"
    Where does Infinite Jest rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    At the top, except for the frustration over having to run to the book to read the endnotes.


    What about Sean Pratt’s performance did you like?

    He captured Wallace's narration voice and every character's voice perfectly. This is probably the greatest performance of a book I've ever listened to (and I've listened to about a hundred).


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Both, and it made me curse every time I missed an endnote.


    Any additional comments?

    Anyone willing to listen to 56 hours of this wouldn't mind listening to another 10 in order to hear all the endnotes. I think it was a terrible mistake not to include them. Other than that, this is one of the greatest books ever written, and one of the greatest performances by a reader.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 07-21-14
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 07-21-14 Member Since 2015

    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.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brad 12-19-12
    Brad 12-19-12
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    "Serious end"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I liked this story. It made me laugh. It made me weep. I sent gift copies to people I love, and I sent a copy to someone I hate. They deserved it. I think some of the best stories might for instance be set in a tennis school, or at AAmeetings. I sure learned a lot about depression and drugs and stuff, as well as lots of new words like "annular" and ummmm, Annular and well yes, annular. Plus some others.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    This story was interesting for me because I could listen to it. It was like being told a story, or like my big brother who I look up to, not hitting me with a tennis ball, kind of bouncing it on my head, over and over and telling me that he thinks post modern is over and we are now definitely post post modern and that we should all be playing virtual eschaton and watching out that we don't get too clinically depressed because if we do, we will become addicted to reading very long novels where the author makes fun of us for reading what he writes before he takes his own life, to show us he meant what he said about it being all one big joke. Seriously!


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

    No.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    At 56 hours, I heard a guy down the valley couldn't stop and perished of dehydration. So I always keep a glass of Gatorade next to me just in case I get too engrossed.


    Any additional comments?

    Dear David. Thank you. We will miss you.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    pickabone 07-30-14
    pickabone 07-30-14 Member Since 2016

    chadlevinson

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    "But at least it's long"
    What could David Foster Wallace have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    He could have hired a competent editor. I'm all for long, in-depth explorations in novels, but this book has no discipline. I found myself constantly annoyed with his deliberate delaying tactics. Moreover, it feels like an poor homage to other authors, Joyce, Proust, Vonnegut, and Pynchon mostly, with none of the passion, humor, intellect, or insight of those other works.


    What didn’t you like about Sean Pratt’s performance?

    Pratt, to me, is like a triple-A ball player. Sure, he has talent, but he's missing something in his performance. His character voices are particularly bad, each one sounding like an imitation of a person, not the person himself (and especially herself -- his females almost always give me the urge to switch to an NPR podcast). And his dialects are very sloppy, especially when he gets into the Canadians, which drift between Scottish, Irish, and something unidentifiable in origin.


    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Everyday 10-12-15
    Everyday 10-12-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Can't continue"
    What disappointed you about Infinite Jest?

    I sought this out because it is so well loved. I got about 6 hours in and thought of 50 more hours of listening felt like work, or a task I had to finish. Audiobooks are a part of my every day commute, and for the next two weeks I found myself seeking out anything else to listen to other than returning to this book. I finally took that as a sign. Well written, but I'm just not interested. So, for only the second time in all the books I've listened to, I stopped.


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kiki Los Angeles, CA United States 03-04-15
    kiki Los Angeles, CA United States 03-04-15 Member Since 2015

    boudicca1

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    "DFW, Rolling In His Grave"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    See above: marketed as unabridged. This does not include the text in the footnotes. Are they serious? The preamble to the audiobook states that the text in the footnotes are not included. Instead, there is a woman's voice that will announce the number of the footnote. So then you can go to another source to obtain that text.*


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I don't know. A good portion of the book, marketed as "unabridged," was not included.


    Which character – as performed by Sean Pratt – was your favorite?

    I don't know. A good portion of the book, marketed as "unabridged" was not included.


    What character would you cut from Infinite Jest?

    I don't know. A good portion of the book, marketed as "unabridged" was not included.


    Any additional comments?

    *I just saw a performance piece based upon the works of DFW in the 2015 Under the Radar festival at the Public in NYC, and somehow those people were able to include DFW's footnotes in the text. Whoa. Have a women not read the NUMBER of the footnote, but instead read the TEXT of the footnote.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ä Lalilu 10-22-12
    Ä Lalilu 10-22-12 Member Since 2010

    Passionate audio book listener

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    "Test Review - only for tech testing"

    This is only a test and shall not go live. This is only a test and shall not go live.

    9 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandy 01-15-17
    Brandy 01-15-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Not my cup of tea"

    I could not get into this book at all. I had great hopes of loving it, but could not bear listening to more than 2 hours worth of the first part. In short, a sore disappointment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle ERIE, CO, United States 12-31-16
    Michelle ERIE, CO, United States 12-31-16 Member Since 2012
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    "Maybe the most disappointing book ever **"

    But you probably need to read it anyway. This is some fascinating and original writing, a very clever twixt of characters, and a finely-crafted world of the near future that the reader can really invest in and sink into. IJ is a very beautiful mix of comedy, drama and irony that one can easily become emotionally attached to. I really loved the book and its mostly cynical and unwitting characters, all portrayed well by Sean Pratt. I loved it right up until the end. Which itself is beautiful, but... My impression is that Wallace threw up is arms and said to the reader "This is complicated and I'm tired of being clever. I don't know - you figure it out.", then wrote the words "The End" and smoked a fatty. Without a spoiler, all I can say is I was gravely disappointed and would demand a sequel if that were possible. Worth reading for all its originality. **Disclaimer: the audio book doesn't include the hundreds of footnotes. While I referred to my hard copy for about a third of them, I have not gone back to see if all my concerns are allayed in the footnotes. I doubt it, but I'll come back here and publicly bite my tongue if that's the case.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick Bennett williamsport, PA United States 08-30-16
    Patrick Bennett williamsport, PA United States 08-30-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Missing endnote markets"

    The story and performance are just as strong as the previous sections. However, the endnote markers are missing for several hours in the middle of this section making it frustrating to follow along.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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