Thursday, June 6, 2013

"The question on my mind was, did this work as a novel?" says Topher

Upon finishing Infinite Jest a couple months ago, I must admit, I didn’t know quite what to make of it. This is a book that needs to be thought about, digested. I knew I had just experienced the work of an extremely talented writer, but it wasn’t quite what I had expected. I wasn’t left with the closure that I was hoping for. The question on my mind was, did this work as a novel?

Which was probably the wrong question to be asking. Whether or not this novel “worked,” I enjoyed all of it. Wallace’s Vonnegut-esque vision of the near future was fully fleshed out, and right on target as a critique of American society. The characters were all sympathetic while never being flat or boring, and I was glad to spend time with them. I was drawn into Wallace’s commentary on the nature of a community, his thought-out defense of AA, and (what seemed to be) his overall thesis that most people are fundamentally good.

So, did this book succeed as a novel? Not in a traditional sense. Instead, Infinite Jest boldly and brilliantly changes what a great work of fiction can be.

Take the time to read this book. It’s well worth it.


Some quotes from the author:

“Everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else.” 

“The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.”  

“Try to learn to let what is unfair teach you.” 

 “Whatever you get paid attention for is never what you think is most important about yourself.” 

“Everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it.” 

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