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Editorial 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

Critic Reviews

“[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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Story

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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

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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

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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

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  • kiki
  • Los Angeles, CA United States
  • 03-04-15

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

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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 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Ä
  • Lalilu
  • 10-22-12

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

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This is the full novel. No need for Part 2.

Any additional comments?

Although you can make returns, there is no need to buy Part 2 - this is the full novel. I accidentally bought Part 2 and when I started listening, I noticed that it was repeating. The Part 2 applies to a different version of the recording where Part 1 is about 28 hours, as is Part 2.

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Amazing in every way

I'm actually sad that it's over. No doubt I'll be coming back to this masterpiece. One read is not enough.

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captivating

very addictive and gives you a kick and more than a peek in things you may choose not to understand. lovely

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Our mind

Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own thoughts, unguarded. But once mastered, no one can help you that much, as your mind, not even your father or your mother.