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)
Starts with a high school tennis player freaking out in college interview, segues to a Marijuana addict in Boston, Arab doctor in Boston, pro football kicker in Phoenix, beauty from Kentucky, cycling back to family running a tennis academy in Boston, father an expert on optics and dabbling in perfecting an engrossing video entertainment, sought by Canadian Quebec separatists, all interacting with substance abusers (12 steppers, obsessives). Absolutely brilliant with many threads, many entertaining (!) and insightful themes and interactions. It does not coalesce well at the end, not surprisingly given the huge ambition, but well worth the time. Absolutely amazing narrator.
I would say that it is in my top 5 favorite books of all time
There are several disturbing parts that may usually scare people off, but DFW does a great job finding the humanity and emotion behind pain. For example, hearing about how J.O Incandenza's suicide affected his sons (not a spoiler) was unbelievably interesting
I would want to meet Hal Incandenza. He is complex and self aware to the point that he seems dangerously vulnerable. His family history is too much for most people, but I think it'd be a rewarding experience to get to know him more. I loved all of his narration
This was a bucket list book for me. I was nervous about starting it, but when I did, I was immediately drawn into the characters. The writing is noticeably superior, and not condescending in anyway. I looked up a lot of esoteric words, but that seemed reflective of the characters more than the author's tone. I think this is great book to start for anyone who is looking to mix things up. It's crazy and addictive
Tied for first.
Anathem by Neal Stephenson. I have listened to Anathem dozens of times and always find it enjoyable. The prose and thoughtfulness in both books is rare.
This narrator is exquisite in his intonations. He nails the mood and age of the speaker. I have looked through the written book and it is daunting to say the least but Sean Pratt's narration makes sense of it.
David Foster Wallace was able to capture some of my growing up moments without ever meeting me. The scene with the drunken father and his son Jim in the garage with the Montclair was like a scene from my life. Father wanting to relive their heyday through a child who is disinterested at best and repulsed at least.
I have to admit that I sought Wikipedia for some insight into the book and found it quite helpful. The years are not numerical but corporate names which have been purchased like the names of some ball fields. Also the bad guys and their quest is a little hard to discover but Wiki lays it out.
I also downloaded the PDF for the endnotes and as a habit, I read a group of them before I read the text so the flow for me is smooth.
I was surprised to find myself in this book. Maybe you will too.
No. Unless they really want to delve in to the addicted mind and psyche in which case it is probably worth reading - the author's insights into AA, addiction, and obsession are keen and thorough.
I think that a good book should not need two reads for basic things like understanding key details. If you do want to tackle this book read about it first. You'll enjoy it MUCH more. It wasn't until a third of the way through the book that I figured out what "Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment" meant - that it was a reference to a year the same as "2016" might be (I have no clue if that's the corresponding year) and not some descriptive marker in one of the character's lives.
The cultural setting should be introduced in a way that adds to the story and character development. Not so that it detracts from it. DFW leaves out crucial details until later in the story - details you NEED to understand when you START the story.
The other aspect of the book that I don't enjoy at all is that a good bit of the prose is, from what I can tell, the author more or less taking immense pleasure in his own wit and writing craft. Given that I am not an author myself, I can't really speak to this in too much detail except to say that I could sense when DFW was going into "self pleasure mode" vs. actually writing a book.
One of the key tenants of good literature, in my opinion, is that no part of it should be able to be removed without damaging the work. Some parts of this book could be removed, and the work would be improved. Omit ---- needless ---- words.
Footnotes. Ugh. f you do some research, you'll discover that the footnotes are key for understanding the work, and more importantly from what I've read, you should read the footnotes as you are reading the book.
If this is the case, then the footnotes should be read (perhaps by a different reader, say, for example, that woman that keeps interrupting us with footnote numbers) in line with the story itself. Doing so would certainly not detract from the story organization, since the whole thing is chaotically organized anyway.
Some aspects of the story reflect DFW's sense of humor, which I do not like. I don't particularly find the wheeled legless Canadian special agents all that entertaining. I think it's kind of stupid, personally.
The author gets some technical details so far wrong that it is distracting. For example, there is one scene where the sun casts a shadow across two figures over a city from a mountain. The author describes how the shadow of the figures grows and encompasses the whole city as the sun sets. Thats... uh... not at all how it works. The sun is bigger than a person, just a bit, and a person does not at all cast a shadow on a city any more than a small satellite that passes in front of the sun occludes the earth. Details like that, which are missed, are distracting.
Lastly, the story is predictable. I had read about some kind of surprise ending. I found it to be totally predictable in pretty much every way after about a third of the way into it. The plot is unimaginative in this regard.
Yes, the reader was great.
Ugh. It would be SO depressing.
Do not read this book unless you might enjoy diving into depression, addiction, loneliness, depravity, and unless you have a deep love of well crafted but otherwise useless sentences.
Sean Pratt's performance is by far the best I've experienced listening to an audio book. It's a masterpiece of emotional range, characters, accents and voices.
I love some of his descriptions of place and people. But, I am not that terribly interested in tennis or drug addicts.
I did not finish the book.
Sean had a voice that worked perfectly for this story. He did a great job.
Download a different book.
My mind wanders, just like the story.
Once in awhile there was something funny, like realizing I too put packing tape near my phone.
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.
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.
I have not, but I will. Sean Pratt is brilliant.
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.
Gravity's Rainbow. Gaddis' The Recognitions. Sharon Old's poetry.
Consistant tone, and the absolute butchering of all words French.
Are You Prepared To Be Entertained? or Consider Your Entertainment.
I'm not a copy writer.
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.
"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.
"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!
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