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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

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  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 04-11-12
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 04-11-12

    I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Removing Endnotes Does NOT Equal Unabridged!"

    1. This audiobook is not unabridged.
    2. It has no endnotes.
    3. Endnotes are an essential part of this novel.
    4. Understand the difficulty of including endnotes in an audiobook, but alas, if you are going to call it unabridged, it better BE unabridged.
    5. Not sure if DFW would have allowed the endnotes to be stripped.
    6. Frustrated.
    7. Irritated.
    8. Disquieted.
    9. A little irritated about 2 credits (and did I mention no endnotes?)
    10. Ibid.
    11. "The challenge in editing David Foster Wallace was the difficulty of wrangling his prose and narrative structure, which were often purposefully peripatetic and disjointed (in the best sense of the word), without disrupting the writing's pacing or diluting its effect, which Wallace intended as a numbing overload to the reader's faculties comparable to the overwhelming 'constant monologue inside your own head.'"*
    12. Crap.
    13. "The following pieces were published in edited, heavily edited, or (in at least one instance) bowdlerized form." The "bowdlerized" piece, "Host," was about a right-wing radio personality, and Wallace was also frustrated by the abridgement of "Up, Simba," the story he wrote about John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign and, he insisted on publishing a web edition of his full article.**
    14. There are options for including footnotes in audiobooks.
    15. In 'Consider the Lobster' another DFW book the producer used a phone filter for footnotes (which ARE included).
    16. Susanna Clarke's novel, "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell" (Audio Renaissance), recorded footnotes.
    17. There is a great New York Times piece on the challenges of footnotes and endnotes (and pictures and maps) in audiobooks***
    18. The same New York Times piece has a great quote from DFW in reference to his endnotes: "Most poetry is written to ride on the breath, and getting to hear the poet read it is kind of a revelation and makes the poetry more alive. But with certain literary narrative writers like me, we want the writing to sound like a brain voice, like the sound of the voice inside of the head, and the brain voice is faster, is absent any breath, and it holds together grammatically rather than sonically."
    19. Claudia Howard, in the same New York Times piece argues that an "audiobook is a monologue that should be kept intact".
    20. Another part of the New York Times article referenced above in note 17, "So single-minded is Mr. Wallace, who is 43, about how his work looks over how it sounds that at his first public reading in the late 1980's, 'I inserted the punctuation,' he recalled, adding: 'I would read a clause and say 'comma' or 'semicolon.' Or I'd say, 'new paragraph' and 'indent.' Now looking back at it I can see what a silent deal this is for me.' At one point in 'Consider the Lobster,' Mr. Wallace encounters an ellipsis and reads "dot, dot, dot," which producers say is verboten. "Part of it is I'm not an actor and I don't know how to trail off, and I become somewhat autistic about it," he said."
    21. There is a great example in this piece showing how DFW handled endnotes/footnotes.****
    22. Cutting the Endnotes disrespects notes 23, 24, and 25.
    23. Work
    24. Author
    25. Reader

    195 of 266 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RF 09-15-15
    RF 09-15-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Sure?"
    Any additional comments?

    Have you heard of Yngwie Malmsteen? If you haven't, let me tell you a little about him. He's a guitar player from Sweden who's been around since the 1980's, and is regarded by many people as one of the best guitar players alive. There have been times when I watched his videos on Youtube and have considered chopping off one of my hands because of how he reminds me that I will never be as good as him. But what keeps Yngwie from the ears of the average listener, and my hands away from the butcher's block, is that all his songs sound kind of... boring. Sure, he can play fast, and he's got cool hair, but his song writing skills are a little lacking. There are no hooks, no interesting melodies, or groovy beats. Just ridiculous arpeggios played at face melting speeds.<br/><br/>David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest is kind of like that. Just like Yngwie, Wallace had an understanding of his craft that was incredible. Like Yngwie's lightning-fast fingers, Wallace had a command over the English language that I'll NEVER have. The technical know-how of these two men over their respective crafts is mind-blowing. <br/><br/>However, just like Yngwie's song writing ability, I found David Foster Wallace's story telling ability to be lacking. When it comes to music most people would rather listen to Bob Dylan, who is, for the most part, a shit guitar player, but his songs are amazing! Similarly, I'd rather listen/read to someone like Stephen King, who's technical writing ability is fine, but his ability to tell a story far exceeds that of David Foster Wallace (IMO, of course).<br/><br/>I don't know. Listen to it if you've got a lot of time. Maybe it's better in written form.

    34 of 46 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicole L. 04-19-12
    Nicole L. 04-19-12
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    "Omission of end notes gives me the howling fantods"

    I do not understand why Hachette Audio would undertake the monumental task of producing Infinite Jest as an audiobook and choose to omit the end notes. I have been looking forward to this audio release for some time and I am greatly disappointed by this decision. Infinite Jest is an important book and a LONG one and anyone interested in investing 56 hours in it, I can assure you, is interested in the end notes. I enjoy Sean Pratt as a narrator. I appreciate the work that went into recording this book, and I truly hope Hachette considers an updated release WITH END NOTES.

    39 of 53 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kirill helsinki, Finland 04-14-12
    kirill helsinki, Finland 04-14-12
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    "Could you make footnotes available in audioformat?"
    Would you try another book from David Foster Wallace and/or Sean Pratt?

    Yes.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Sean Pratt’s performances?

    Yes.


    What character would you cut from Infinite Jest?

    I would not cut anything.


    Any additional comments?

    It is really awesome that you have made a audiobook of Infinite Jest. But leaving out the endnotes is a really bad choice as it makes this audiobook hard to listen. I can not stop and read a pdf file in a middle of a bike ride or car trip. You decision makes this audiobook unusable!

    43 of 63 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Siobhan Ricci 09-12-16 Member Since 2017
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    "Dave Wallace Rulez"

    I love Dave Wallace he rocks my socks rest in peace Dave foster Wallace RiP

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Citizen 08-20-16
    Citizen 08-20-16 Member Since 2015
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    "One of my favorite audiobooks"

    The narrator, Sean Pratt, is excellent for this story. Even though the sentences can get very long and meandering, he speaks with such a casual rhythm that it becomes very easy to understand. The voices and dialects are also very believable and consistent. Besides the performance, this book is fantastic in its own right. Everyone should read it or listen to it at least once. Since its such a long book, I think listening is the best option along with reading the endnotes separately (since its not included in audio).

    The book is thought provoking, and uncomfortable at times. It confronts the gruesome reality of the pursuit of pleasure and happiness and success as being all of one nature, a possibly obsessive drive.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig 07-29-16
    Craig 07-29-16
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    "WOW. WOW. WOW! Amazing storytelling & performance."

    Lived up to high expectations. I legitimately laughed out loud every time I listened and COULD NOT put it down once started so I would find time whenever I was anywhere to read on.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    case wills 07-25-16
    case wills 07-25-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Brilliant Gut Punch"

    Incredible writing, and storytelling, with deeply realized characters spiraling up or down in tragicomic beauty. A masterwork, but tough going. Feels like a gut punch at times. Never boring but not for everyone. Tests your vocabulary, your stomach, and your heart.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    steven 07-14-16
    steven 07-14-16 Member Since 2014
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    "my favorite book of all time."

    incredible piece of art. I've listened to it four times in the past two years

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay Quintana 06-01-16 Member Since 2017
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    "A brilliant linguistic achievement, but not..."

    ... much of a story.

    Genius is overused, but I believe it applied to David Foster Wallace. The man's knowledge and ability to communicate were nonpareil. Listening to this, I couldn't help but be awed by his command of the language. I could probably randomly go to a section and find a dazzling sentence. That said, I value story much higher than technique and ideally, I like to lose myself in the story and only be aware of technique on a subconscious level. That's impossible to do here. As a lover of language, sure, I enjoyed seeing these verbal acrobatics, but at some point, the story and the characters have to take over. That just didn't happen for me. While I found the characters unique, they were only somewhat interesting. And the story failed to engage me.

    I'm glad I listened to this and don't feel time was wasted. But unlike other long books considered classics -- Ulysses, War and Peace, Anna Karenina -- I have no intention of listening to this again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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