infinite jest by david foster wallace

This book belongs to the doorstopper Club, along with Ulysses and Don Quixote. In hard cover, its thousand plus pages can cause serious injuries if used as a weapon.

David Foster Wallace wasn’t on my radar until this summer. I stumbled upon yet another list of greatest books, and Infinite Jest was pretty up high. The title caught my attention. It evoked memories of Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game, which I read back in high school.

Considering the length, I decided to stick to a reading plan – the goal was to read the book by the end of the year, which left me with 22 weeks starting in August. I did basic calculations of number of pages to read each week, and then kept track. Turns out, it took me only 14 weeks.

The plot is both simple and multi-faceted. Two governments are looking for the mysterious Entertainment, tennis academy students are busy surviving and being obnoxiously self-involved, a group of addicts recover from their various addictions. So, don’t expect a riveting page-turner. Instead, come for the joy of abundance of beautifully crafted sentences. Wallace bends and spins English language like a Valenciennes lacemaker.

It’s no doubt that Infinite Jest deserves its place in the lists of modern American classics. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s a must-read, but it certainly adds colour to your inner world.