Thursday, September 18, 2008

Finite

Sad news on the literary front this week, so let me put this out there first: RIP David Foster Wallace.

Readers, I won't lie: Infinite Jest was my postmodern nemisis. I bought the book. It fell apart from my countless thows against the wall. I took it out from the library, worrying over a possible hernia from it's heft (almost 1100 pages), yet I persisted. That was sophmore year of college. Four years after graduation, the library edition is still sitting on my bookshelf, a tiny scrap of paper marking where I gave up. That's what it was, really. Giving up. The book defeated me, casually tossing footnotes and ceaseless wit at my poor 21-year-old head. Now I'm older, wiser and I may just give it another shot. Anyhow, part of me likes knowing I haven't finished Infinite Jest: it'll be an accomplishment when I finally do. (BTW, good college chum Mr. Bungle first implored me to read Mr. Wallace's landmark tome and even though I didn't get into the fiction, I'll always be thankful as DFW's non-fiction story "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" will always be one of my favorites things in the world.)




Jewelry update coming; too much to fit in one post...

9 comments:

WendyB said...

I must say, I haven't read a word he wrote. Report back if you make any progress with Infinite Jest.

enc said...

Nor have I. And now I'm intimidated to the point where I might not even try, that book is so huge.

The Seeker said...

I read that he killed himself. But I never read a thing he wrote.

Well... RIP

xoxo

Mr. Bungle said...

This is a good thing to read, even if you never read anything by him again:

http://www.marginalia.org/dfw_kenyon_commencement.html

and if that piques your interest, here is an interview from 1993 that sort of lays the groundwork for Infinite Jest:

http://www.dalkeyarchive.com/catalog/show_comment/240

Sal said...

I had the same experience. Could. Not. Do. It.

whitneybee said...

I tried to read it in college too, and never made it through. I pulled it off the shelf the other day and there's still a little marker so I knew where to turn to the footnotes. I feel like I'm obligated to try to finish it now.

fashion herald said...

i have a very hard time with post modern fiction, so also couldn't finish it. sad about his death.

Anonymous said...

not bragging, but i read IJ more than once.

one time, i started reading it immediately after getting to the end, and i discovered that the beginning is actually the middle.

eeps. said...

this sounds almost exactly like my college roommate's battle with gravity's rainbow. i'm glad i never took a class on any literature written past 1950.