Infinite Jest Stalled

My request for Infinite Jest cheerleaders brought forth Isabella and Frances, who both urged me to read on, but suggested a break may be advisable. On completing Jaron Lanier’s provocative You Are Not a Gadget, I eyed David Foster Wallace’s slab of postmodernism, and reverted to my bookshelves in search of a volume more fitting to my appetite today. Infinite Jest might be this summer’s book for the beach. For now Walter Benjamin’s Early Writings 1910-1917 is exerting a strong pull.

Two Hundred Pages Into Infinite Jest

Artfully constructed sentences soon become unremarkable in Infinite Jest; the use of language is exquisite. I find myself rereading paragraphs with wonder. After twice reading an eight-page footnote, ‘James O. Incandenza: A Filmography’, the footnotes began to seem a rewarding construction, and not annoying. Thirty pages in, I hit a chapter written entirely in vernacular, “Wardine say her momma aint treat her right”. Normally a block, I survived a device I always find condescending.

David Foster Wallace writes characters that rise up from the pages. The chapter where we meet marijuana addict Erdedy awaiting a woman who is due to bring him some ‘unusually good marijuana’ is an outstanding study of addiction, hilarious and disturbing.

Two hundred pages in though and I am seeking distraction, began reading Jaron Lanier’s You Are Not a Gadget. Perhaps I haven’t read enough to care yet, but I am not feeling forward propulsion. Have you read Infinite Jest? Is it sufficiently rewarding, not just a well-written and clever book? Any cheer-leaders out there?