To date there has only one book which I have given up on completely and that is Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook. Unfortunately now I have to add another one and that’s Infinite Jest. I gave up on page 418, I just couldn’t stand it any longer.
Right now I am wondering why. I have read Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow , Against the Day and V , I even tackled Bolano’s 2666 and managed and yet this one got to me. The funny thing is that it’s actually easier to read than the aforementioned novels.
Infinite Jest takes place in the near future where teleputers exist and years are named after products instead of the typical Gregorian system we are used to. The recently departed James O Incandenza directs a film which turns people into vegetables when watching it and it exists in video format and it is called Infinite Jest and has a notorious reputation amongst people , yet it is difficult to find and it is wanted by certain groups. Mainly Incandenza’s three sons , a group of wheelchair bound Quebecois Segregationists and rehab patients.
It is an indeed a satire on American materialism and touches amongst other subjects such as child abuse , madness , technology. In a weird way you will be brainier after reading it. Foster Wallace has an encyclopedic knowledge on the world around him and he uses it to the full.
On paper/ monitor this sounds like a brilliant novel, but you have to wade through enormous plot digressions , polysyllabic language, elaborate descriptions of tennis matches and tons of footnotes. It is a chore to read and after a month and no progress, I began to skim read and then I know I’d have to give up.
All I can say is that I hope I’ll pick it up again in the future but now I’m not up to it.