Kate and Fuzzy are reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace and talking about it.
13 - I Guess It Wasn't Infinite Because It Ended (pg 908-981)
The first explainer for the ending of the book that Kate reads in the episode was What Happens at the End of Infinite Jest? (or, the Infinite Jest ending explained) by the late, lamented Aaron Swartz. He also wrote a blog post On Finishing Infinite Jest.
“And here, really, is the enigma of David Foster Wallace’s work generally and Infinite Jest specifically: an endlessly, compulsively entertaining book that stingily withholds from readers the core pleasures of mainstream novelistic entertainment, among them a graspable central narrative line, identifiable movement through time, and any resolution of its quadrumvirate plotlines.” - Four Theories Toward the Timeless Brilliance of Infinite Jest
“Perfect, however, ‘Infinite Jest’ is not: this 1,079-page novel is a ‘loose baggy monster,’ to use Henry James’s words, a vast, encyclopedic compendium of whatever seems to have crossed Mr. Wallace’s mind.” - Michiko Kakutani, New York Times 1996 BOOKS OF THE TIMES;A Country Dying of Laughter. In 1,079 Pages.
“Long after publication Wallace maintained this position, stating that the novel ‘does resolve, but it resolves … outside of the right frame of the picture. You can get a pretty good idea, I think, of what happens’. Critical reviews and a reader’s guide have provided insight, but Burns notes that Wallace privately conceded to Jonathan Franzen that ‘the story can’t fully be made sense of’.” - the Wikipedia article for Infinite Jest
Fuzzy started this podcast because he couldn’t find an existing podcast that worked through Infinite Jest. There must have been something in the zeitgeist, because Fuzzy’s brother pointed us at Jest Friends, a podcast that started around the same time as this one. They’re only about halfway through, as they’re reading around 50 pages a week. Good luck to them!
12 - Gaudeamus Igitur (pg 802-907)
We went ahead and read 1.5 weeks’ worth to get back on track.
Iron John: A Book About Men
The movie we refer to is The End of the Tour, based on David Lipsky’s memoir Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself.
For next week, read to page 981 if you’re reading along (that is, finish the book).
11 - Just an Endnote (pg 728-801)
Greebles) are fascinating
We speculated about the audiobook in Episode 8 (An Imaginary Nuclear Process) and covered the versions in the show notes for that episode. It is read by the voice actor Sean Pratt.
Ignore what we say at the end of the episode and read to page 907 if you’re reading along. That’s right, we’re going for it!
10 - Half the Reading, All the Talking (pg 686-727)
This week is a special minisode, just a half-week segment on the Infinite Summer Reading Schedule. Look, life happens. But then somehow we managed to talk about half as many pages for about the same amount of time as always. Is it possible that we’re just two old friends who like getting together once a week and yammering? Maaaaybe.
Here’s the button that Fuzzy gave Kate:
Erica sent us the article Infinite Jest at 20: 20 things you need to know which contains the factoid about the extra 600 pages and the VHS of Beethoven), but she can’t guarantee there aren’t spoilers.
For next episode, read pages 728-801 if you’re reading along.
9 - Some Rustling in the Background (pg 612-685)
Fuzzy’s review of House of Leaves
Despite what we say at the end of the episode, just read from pg 686 to 727 for next episode, if you’re reading along.
8 - An Imaginary Nuclear Process (pg 538-611)
OK, so there’s a 2012 audiobook of audiobook of Infinite Jest, that’s 56 hours, but it doesn’t have the endnotes, so they released a three-part audiobook in 2013 where the third part is an extra 7 hours of just the endnotes.
The Lobster is on Netflix
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues is 19% on Rotten Tomatoes. Oof.
Erica pointed us at Brickjest which is Infinite Jest in Lego. I didn’t scroll all the way to the bottom for fear of spoilers.
For next episode, read pages 612-685 if you’re reading along.
This is terrible. Two idiots “reviewing” a work of either genius or egomaniacal blather, but in either case, they aren’t up to the task.