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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 (531 )
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4.2 (460 )
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Performance
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  •  
    steve Morgantown, WV, United States 10-13-13
    steve Morgantown, WV, United States 10-13-13 Member Since 2011
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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
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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
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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 06-30-13
    David 06-30-13
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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 2014
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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
  •  
    Ralph Milford, MA, United States 03-19-13
    Ralph Milford, MA, United States 03-19-13 Member Since 2012

    Audio books help me get through my commute, and my household chores.

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    "Great performance of an epic work, but..."

    This recording comes highly recommended, with one powerful caveat.

    The novel itself is brilliant and complex, full of important themes and messages as it follows the interconnected lives of some generally screwed-up people in various walks of life. It's entertaining and fascinating, full of tragedy and pathos, but with the ability to make me laugh out loud repeatedly. The sometimes insular and disjointed writing style reminds me of Thomas Pynchon, which my English-major daughter tells me was an influence on Wallace.

    The narrator does a brilliant job with a very difficult work - a commendable performance. His inflections are spot-on, use of accents and voicing is excellent. Will look for Sean Pratt in other works.

    However, the decision to exclude the footnotes, except to mention their number as they occur, is a seriously flawed one. There is a lot going on in the footnotes, which essentially means that this is NOT truly an unabridged production, and that you need a print or ebook version of the novel to get the full experience. I fortunately do have access to the book on my Kindle, so after every hour or two of listening, I could go back and read the footnotes, referring back to the context as needed. It would be very much an inferior experience without this ability.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. MCINTOSH Georgia United States 03-14-13
    B. MCINTOSH Georgia United States 03-14-13 Member Since 2014

    General Reader

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    "And But So!"
    What made the experience of listening to Infinite Jest the most enjoyable?

    I feel that the reader really gets the characters correct.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Infinite Jest?

    Bruce Green's Story (Dad with one Frankenstein Boot / Macadamia Nut Snake Can) and Tiny Ewell's Story (The Gilded Blarney Man / Money Stealers Club).


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

    Don Gately, a former thief and Demerol addict.


    If you could rename Infinite Jest, what would you call it?

    The Entertainment!


    Any additional comments?

    No.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam 02-23-13
    Sam 02-23-13 Member Since 2013
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    "THIS IS ABRIDGED"

    This audiobook is falsely advertised as "unabridged."

    David Foster Wallace wrote this novel with literally *hundreds* of footnotes that are INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT to the story. Some of them are dozens of pages long, and contain important dialogue/explanation. You actually cannot fully understand the book without the footnotes, and the audiobook does not include them. In fact, it begins by telling you that, though a female voice will tell you where the footnotes are, nobody will read them. These footnotes are not "supplemental" material - they are an integral part of the novel, making this audiobook unequivocally ABRIDGED.

    Audible, it should be labelled as such, or there should be a very visible disclaimer.

    In addition, the reader is pretty good, but ridiculously slow. This (in a book that is well over 1,000 double-sized pages) is a bit of a problem. Some of his lengthy pauses make it difficult to get through. It can take him almost an hour to get through ten or so pages.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jordan Phnom Penh, Cambodia 02-18-13
    Jordan Phnom Penh, Cambodia 02-18-13
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    "An epic American portrait made accessible"

    This was my second time through Infinite Jest, and listening to it was much easier and much more enjoyable than the first time, thanks to the wonderful multi-talented narration by Sean Pratt. The range of his voices for each of the many characters brings the story to life in a way that makes it much more accessible and enjoyable than the dense (and brick-heavy!) book version.

    I disagree with the other reviews that complained about the choice to leave the footnotes out; the novel is not driven by the plot - but the sense of continuity that does exist would not be possible with the footnotes included.

    DFW was a genius - the hilarious and poignant way he communicates his understanding of the human condition indeed combats loneliness, even despite the tragedy that he was presumably not able to keep his own depressions from overpowering him.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Poppy United States 02-15-13
    Poppy United States 02-15-13 Member Since 2010

    Poppy 17

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    "Devastating to not have the footnotes."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Footnotes. The woman who said the footnote number could just as well have read the footnote. CRAZY


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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