Wednesday, March 25, 2009

INFINITE JEST - finished. Plus some thoughts that for some reason seem to need to be heavily-and-probably-unnecessarily-dashed.

And.....I want to read it again.
It's unfinished and finished. It's exhausting and exhilarating. It's black and white. It's religion and addiction. It's war and atonement. It's coming-of-age and dropping out, tuning in, and turning on.

I think, however, that I need to let it settle in for about a decade and then maybe I'll read it again.

Several reviewers said that the book itself seemed to be only a loosely woven outline of a novel to provide a place for D.F.W to regurgitate everything that had ever passed through his mind. I what? It's his book. And thank GOD he had a place to write those amazing stories-within-stories before his demons got to him. (He committed suicide in Sept. 2008).
I have long been a fan of stream-of-consciousness writing. I don't need a structured beginning, middle, climax, nicely wrapped package of conclusions to get something out of a novel. In fact, Stephen King, if the conclusion doesn't come naturally, if you have to force it and pieces-parts it together to MAKE it end, then I'd really prefer you not bother.

There's no way D.F.W. could have ended this and handed the reader a neat little ribbon-wrapped gift box, and I'm personally glad he didn't try.

Am I exhausted from reading it? YES, but it's a good kind of exhausted. A kind of holy-crap-that-gave-me-a-lot-to-think-about exhausted, which is a kind I'm willing to accept. And no it didn't "End", but I also didn't finish reading it and feel gypped or unsatisfied in any way.

Would I recommend it to my friends? Very few. Not because my friends are smart enough or well-read enough, because most of you certainly are. But I think there are a certain few who would particularly appreciate the book for what it is, would particularly enjoy the hell out of the humor of it, and I would love to hear what you have to say about it. (SANDY this means you.)

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