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March 21, 2018

Well, as semi-promised last month, I was able to finish “Infinite Jest” before this new blog would be written! Oh, sure - I didn’t get it done till yesterday, but still - I believe I’m one of the relative few who can accept the following merit of honor:

Although much like the model in this photo, it’s possible I didn’t understand every plot twist along the way…

So a short review for a mammoth, challenging, breathtaking, confounding and incredibly unique work of undeniable genius - well, I guess the set-up says it all… The experience of reading this novel is almost the same as writing one of your own, and I’m quite sure no one out there could possibly understand every twist and turn, literary reference, and molecular compound/acronym along the way. Which is not a criticism by any means… Written 20 years ago, this awe-provoking work of literature seems to have predicted the rise of a Donald Trump-like figure, Netflix binge-watching, Facebook misinformation, nuclear brinksmanship, and a host of other troubling developments this country and the world now faces. And while the reader must know every step of the way that he or she is no match intelligence-wise to the author, we feel obligated to rise above our own inferiority to hop to the next “plateau”, one that maybe we couldn’t have predicted we’d be able to reach. Which, I’m fairly sure, was a motivating force for David Foster Wallace to begin with. Love and hate coexist as emotions on almost every page of this unforgettable book. Amazement is the overwhelming sense we are left with. (And by “we”, I probably mean “a collection of ‘me’s”…)

I couldn’t be more impressed. Although that doesn’t mean I’m not still quite confused. Maybe I’ll have to read the whole thing again. I’m not sure how soon, however…

For some reason, it feels right for me to pair this long (1,079 pages) masterpiece with an extremely short monthly blog. I want to spend the rest of the afternoon trolling the internet anyway, in search of answers to some of the things I know were missed in my initial reading. Last month I hinted I might follow-up this challenge with a quick, fun read-through of my own “The Blame Game”, just to get back into the lighter spirit of things. And I may just do that.

In fact, I’ll happily shelve the dictionary and thesaurus right now!


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