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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

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  •  
    X 03-25-16
    X 03-25-16 Member Since 2016
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    "this book sucks."

    seriously I don't know why people like this book. the characters talk like no one has ever talked in the history of the world. the plot doesn't make sense and it just ends nowhere. anything about the story that is interesting or compelling goes unresolved.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frank 03-22-16
    Frank 03-22-16 Member Since 2013
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    "Infinite indeed"

    I'd say I prefer my books to have a beginning and an end, not even necessary in that order but it should wrap up and have a conclusion. closure of some sort. not this one. their were many funny and humorous parts as well as vividly sad stories in rehab settings. No doubt the writing is absolutely great. It rambled along, entertainingly but ultimately to no avail, not for me anyway.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    adam 03-22-16
    adam 03-22-16 Member Since 2011
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    "a terrible audiobook"
    What would have made Infinite Jest better?

    The endnotes should be embedded in the track. I know you claim you've put the endnotes in a totally separate book for the sake of the listeners, but this reasoning is nuts. There's no way on earth anyone actually believes actual human people prefer to

    1) back out of whatever section (the body of the book is 7 downloads) they're in
    2) back out of the book itself to the library
    3) play a totally separate book to hear endnote 243 (or whatever #)
    4) when the endnote is finished (most are less than a minute) go back out to the library
    5) play the original book again
    6) repeat this process 300+ times while you do whatever it is you usually do while you listen to audiobooks (probably the reason you started listening to audiobooks)

    I do agree that having the endnotes embedded *could* be slightly confusing at times, but no one is listening to a 60 hour book without some expectation of putting out effort, and believing possibly the book itself being *worth* putting out effort. Plus, as a consumer, I promise you I'd rather be momentarily confused by the piece of art than DEEPLY FRUSTRATED with the presentation of the book itself for THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE BOOK. Just embed the notes & charge 2 credits for the book.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Pratt is not my favorite generally, but this is the worst I've heard him. I know the book is long, but there are SO MANY places where it's painfully obvious that a word or a few sentences were rerecorded in a separate session. The sound varies quite a lot. The poor recording is a constant reminder of the medium itself, and detracts from the book.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    the book itself sparks a variety of reactions, Audible's presentation sparks frustration


    Any additional comments?

    I've physically read IJ a few times, & I like it quite a lot. This is the worst audiobook I've finished.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily 03-08-16
    Emily 03-08-16 Member Since 2011
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    "brilliant. Download endnotes from Audible"
    What made the experience of listening to Infinite Jest the most enjoyable?

    The performance of the different characters was fantastic. But I also recommend buying the ebook, because sometimes it is helpful to read certain sections.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The ongoing mystery to figure out what really happened.


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

    This book is addictive—just like viewers' response to The Entertainment that this book describes, I find myself starting back at the beginning as soon as I finish listening.


    Any additional comments?

    Other reviewers have complained about the lack of endnotes. You can download a PDF from Audible by going to your library, then look for the PDF. As for putting the endnotes into the main recording, I have to agree with the producers in thinking that unworkable. Some of the endnotes are a dozen pages long and appear in the middle of a sentence. Don't expect that you can listen to this book while driving. It requires more attention than that.

    One quibble, however: at around the midpoint of the audiobook, the female voice reading the endnote numbers disappears for a while. You can actually hear the gaps when the numbers are meant to be read. This makes a print or ebook copy especially useful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    pete BRIGHAM CITY, UT, United States 02-23-16
    pete BRIGHAM CITY, UT, United States 02-23-16 Member Since 2012
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    "Fascinating, funny, challenging, insightful"

    This book is equal parts study of human nature, examination of the decline of civilization, experiment in literary structures/conventions/etc, and damned entertaining writing (to name only a few). The entire time I was listening, I was completely drawn in to the story and characters, and at the same time astounded by the ideas and the writing itself.

    My single, tiny quibble is that it's a bit of an intellectual exercise. I felt it stayed at arms length from the emotions it's clearly interested in. Still, easily one of the best books I've ever read/listened to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    caroline pandolfi 02-20-16 Member Since 2011
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    "Favorite book of all time, brought to life"

    Sean Pratt does an incredible job narrating, making IJ a joy to listen to. For any potential listeners, I would say read the book first, as listening to it without reading will be confusing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reads while toiling 02-10-16 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding performance of puerile waffle"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    The novel explores the parochial superficiality of North American culture by being relentlessly parochial and superficial. It has its moments but these could be edited down to a few hundred pages. Foster Wallace employs 'writing techniques' mechanically, managing to be a bit Pynchonesque, but only a bit and the resemblance isn't really to Pynchon's good stuff.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benjamin Titlon 02-09-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Not a good Audio book.. this book needs to be read"

    Such a wonderful book to read but terrible to hear. This book and all its fantastic characters need to b voiced by that voice in your head. I'm an incredible fan of the original work but this audio attempt makes all the characters feel bratty and childish. The original humor falls flat and this thorough read becomes a chore to listen to.. stay away from this and buy a physical copy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George Ariola 02-09-16 Member Since 2015
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    "I have no idea what I just read."

    You can spent the rest of your life trying to figure this book out.

    Perfectly crystallizes themes of isolation, addiction, free will, and lampoons the "American Dream" taken ad absurdum.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jared Henderson Earth 01-20-16
    Jared Henderson Earth 01-20-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Deservedly Beautifully Long Sad Hilarity"
    What did you love best about Infinite Jest?

    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.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    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.


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

    All of them. He made the book a 50+ hour 1 man play. Outstanding.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    Outstanding performance!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • pedersen.nyegaard@wanadoo.dk
    Århus, Denmark
    12/7/12
    Overall
    "Almost perfect"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • clive
    chesterfield, United Kingdom
    1/23/13
    Overall
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Alison
    SELBY, United Kingdom
    4/14/13
    Overall
    "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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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