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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

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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.

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Brilliant?

This book is an avocado. Deep and grassy, the sort of fruit you feel you might be allergic to. Is it mostly water or mostly fat? Hard to tell, frankly. And but- if you haven't tried it, you're missing out.

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Failure of the Medium (& a broken/faulty product)

TL;DR: I don't think an audiobook is the best way to experience this work and even if you can hack the issues, this particular audiobook is BROKEN. Also, this book read to me like a treehouse with a "No Girls Allowed" sign on the door.

Some books cannot be translated into an audiobook. To truly understand this novel (not that I do), you'll need to read the endnotes. Those are provided in an accompanying pdf and some of them are pages and pages long. While the primary text is read by a mail narrator, you'll sometimes hear a female voice reciting numbers, which is your cue to read a corresponding note.

So don't think you'll be listening to this at the gym. You need to be in a place where you can stop, read the note, and then return to the audiofile. Apparently they do have an audiofile of the endnotes (to be purchased separately) and I read one review from a guy used two ipods/phones with the footnotes loaded on one and the primary text on another and a headphone for each in opposite ears, so he could switch back and forth. That is way too much work!

If you are listening as an existing fan of the work who wants to hear it performed well, maybe. But as a first time reader/listener? It's just too much.

Even if the combo pdf/audiobook worked better, the product itself is faulty. I could look past the fact that the 57 hours are broken into parts rather haphazardly instead of using natural breaking points. And the fact that the chapters of the individual parts of audiobook also in no way correspond to meaningful breaking points in the text. But then, over halfway through a 57 hour audiobook, the voice cueing me to read the endnotes disappeared. At that point I had to download the kindle edition so I could track when I was supposed to find a note. I have to stress that you really can't understand what is going on in this plot without reading the notes so missing that voice is like missing several chapters of the book.

When I contacted Audible about the issue they went a few rounds of giving me a canned response that I could contact their suggestions department to see if they could make this content available, as if it was an optional thing I sure would like to hear, rather than a promised part of the product that they did not deliver. Again, they essentially provided the book with several chapters missing. As it turns out the voice returns again late in part 5 but that was a long few hours trying to use the kindle edition to find where I needed to read an endnote.

Bottom line: maybe an audiobook isn't the best medium here and even if you can hack the issues, this particular audiobook is BROKEN.

What about the content of the book, regardless of the medium? Well, I wasn't a huge fan. It's ambitious, pretentious, sometimes interesting and sometimes tedious and it barely manages to pass the bechdel test in over 1,000 pages.

I believe there have been two print editions of this book, one with a forward by Dave Eggers and another with one by Tom Bissell. These are both authors who have made me very uncomfortable in the ways they talk about/portray women. Not Matt Taibbi levels of misogyny but just a sort of "othering"; that makes me uncomfortable. Then, when I listened to an interview with the editor, he mentions the introduction of two secret agent characters, one of whom is wearing women's clothing. It was a small moment but struck me when I heard it--he didn't say they were male secret agents but of course we should understand without his saying it. Because men are the baseline and women only exist in comparison to that baseline.

So just from knowing something about the novel's biggest fans I had suspicions about the way women would exist in the DFW universe. I know there are women who enjoy David Foster Wallace but it's clear that men form the bulk of his fan base. I recommend reading "Men Recommend David Foster Wallace to Me" and "Why I’m Waiting for The Right Man to Tell Me I Should Read ‘Infinite Jest’" as good places to start for people who want to understand the gender divide.

Ultimately, while I did find parts of the book moving or funny (although not the year-naming joke. That's 12-year old boy humor and PS--adopting a new year-naming system isn't particularly realistic in country that can't even make the change to the metric system) I couldn't get past the gender divide in the text itself and in our wider culture as it deals with David Foster Wallace's legacy.

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Great writing, solid narrator

I read this a year ago and loved it, but there's so much going on it's hard to piece together the whole story. This was a great way to follow up.
Some of the writing gets a bit dense at times, be it the Eschaton chapter or one of Mario's puppet shows, but you can probably skip over some of that. Packed with gems, it's well worth the read or listen. DFW is brilliant, hilarious, tortured, and empathetic. Probably my favorite all-time book.

The narrator does a great job with all the different voices - my only minor gripe is that he really stresses the H in the word "while," but you can't win em all.

Read this book, guy. Or gal.

p.s. Don Gately rocks

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infinite story well told

The best narration of an audio book I have ever heard, especially given the unique quality of the text.

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  • GaryGnu
  • WAUWATOSA, WI United States
  • 11-23-17

You don’t need to understand the definition of every word he writes. But you should know some context first

Did you see the movie “End Of the tour” about David Foster Wallace? The movie is good. Seeing that movie got me to listening to his books on Audible. I fucking love it! A great way to understand the context of his writing is “DFW: In his own words”. It’s only like a 6 hour book. But, the pay off is the 63 hours of audio that is “Infinite Jest”. It would be very difficult to understand what the fuck is going on in the book without the context from the first book I mentioned

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A master at his best

Infinite Jest finds David Foster Wallace at his greatest in both structure and design. Truly one of the great reads of the 20th century. Audible 20

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great book. avoid it at all cost if despairing.

stark, dark, portrait of depressive deconstruction. amazing writing. narrator a master of the art. not for weak or despairing souls.....

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Exceptional creativity

Like real life, the plot unfolds in sporadic detail and not in a continuous line. The writing drew me into the situations and characters. this is a story of disfunctioal families and fantasies, rehab experience and drugs but beautifully written and express. Fantasy as reality. Audible made it easier to follow with the paper copy of the book at hand for reference.

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great narration

I would have loved to have heard the footnotes. I'm not certain but it felt like their might have been issues w the recording, some repetition? i could be wrong, I listened to it sporadically while driving across the country.