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Infinite Jest – finite

July 23, 2009

The reason I decided to read Infinite Jest was because I’d never considered doing so before.  I’d seen it, sure – it’s hard to miss a book with a spine that thick on a bookshop shelf – but I’d never gone from picking it up to taking it to the cash register.  When I stumbled across the Infinite Summer project, I realised that it was probably the only way I’d ever read the book and so I committed myself.  Bought the book, signed up to the progress meter and started.

As I read, I checked in at the website and read some of the discussions but never joined in.  I realised that I was reading it in a different way to how others seemed to be.  I was not jotting, referring, agonising – I just read it.  Read it and read it and read it.  I don’t think I could have done it any other way; it seemed to require that sort of momentum.

At about 50 pages to go, I started to suspect that certain stories would not be resolved.  I started to wonder whether any “plot” lines would be resolved.  I started to consider whether resolution would even fit with this type of work.

And then I finished.

Early on in the project I read this post by Marcus Sakey:

Still, I labored through the rough spots, and found more than enough to tickle me and keep me going. But while I don’t want to reveal too much, I will say that when I got to the end, my initial reaction was, “Huh.”

Not in a bad way. There had been moments of such startling brilliance along the way, episodes so hilariously sad and tragically funny, that I knew even at the time that it was something special. But still, at the very end, there was a “Huh” factor.

And so I’ve finished. Huh.

I doubt I’ve finished with it for ever, though.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 27, 2009 8:30 pm

    Well done, you have made me interested in it. What next?

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