Infinite Jest

· Sold by Back Bay Books
266 reviews

About this ebook

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.

With a foreword by Tom Bisell. 

"The next step in fiction...Edgy, accurate, and darkly witty...Think Beckett, think Pynchon, think Gaddis. Think." Sven Birkerts, The Atlantic


Ratings and reviews

266 reviews
A Google user
February 6, 2012
(finished approx. 12.30.11) reading this twice was the best thing I ever did. Doing it confirmed that it was necessary to do so. This is the most wonderful book ever written. As the author says, through the voice of the ghost of the main character's father who appears (the father) to another central character recovering from a wide range of drug addictions in a fever dream brought on by the extreme pain and discomfort resulting from his (the recovering addict's) viscious encounter with a group of drunk quebecois men, who (the drunk quebecois men) are possibly linked to a group of wheelchair bound secessionists, this book is not just about entertainment, it is about every father's dream to "concoct something the gifted boy couldn't simply master and move on from to a new plateau. Something the boy would love enough to induce him to open his mouth and come OUT--even if it was only to ask for more. Games hadn't done it, professionals hadn't done it, impersonation of professionals hadn't done it. His last resort: entertainment. Make something so bloody compelling it would reverse thrust on a young self's fall into the womb of solipsism, anhedonia, death in life. A magically entertaining toy to dangle at the infant still somewhere alive in the boy, to make its eyes light and toothless mouth open unconsicously, to laugh. To bring him 'out of himself,' as they say. The womb coud be used both ways. A way to say I AM SO VERY VERY SORRY and have it HEARD. A life-long dream. The scholars and Foundations and disseminators never saw that his most serious wish was: TO ENTERTAIN." (p.839 of the first paperback edition).
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Misquoted Buffalo
October 15, 2019
Three stars seems adequate. Each star full and the other two empty. Which seems adequate for this book by DFW. He was an agnostic materialist and so his work seems utterly superficial. Nobody and nothing really changes or transforms in the entire book. The characters seem to just wear out from the vissititudes of their exhausting lives or they pick up bad habits and then try to put them down. Hal's downward spiral is depressing at best. But the real problem is see with DFW is he seems to think our American Literary heritage is silly but at the same time he doesn't seem to take any notion of any kind from anything that has been written before him. For instance, instead of taking, say, Emily Dickinson seriously and maybe trying to take something away from her poems on subjects like death and hope and nature and friendship he limits her to sort of an old silly poet who Hal's Mom tries to emulate in her letters.
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A Google user
October 8, 2012
David Foster Wallace is a master of the English language. This post-post-modern fiction brings you deep into a well fleshed-out world of intrigue and emotion; prepare to lose yourself with the pages. With end-notes that can be as long as entire chapters of other books, I'm not sure how easy this would be to read on an e-reader, but it's worth a shot! Words can't describe the life the DFW breathes into his writing -- he is masterful, dark, witty, funny, thought-provoking, evocative, convoluted, and crystal clear, all at once. He is brilliant, and this book is his opus. ENJOY!
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About the author

David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York, in 1962 and raised in Illinois, where he was a regionally ranked junior tennis player. He received bachelor of arts degrees in philosophy and English from Amherst College and wrote what would become his first novel, The Broom of the System, as his senior English thesis. He received a masters of fine arts from University of Arizona in 1987 and briefly pursued graduate work in philosophy at Harvard University. His second novel, Infinite Jest, was published in 1996. Wallace taught creative writing at Emerson College, Illinois State University, and Pomona College, and published the story collections Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Oblivion, the essay collections A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, and Consider the Lobster. He was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and a Whiting Writers' Award, and was appointed to the Usage Panel for The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. He died in 2008. His last novel, The Pale King, was published in 2011.

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