Monday, October 3, 2011

Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace

You may have noticed the Vintage Crime Blog has been out of commission for a while. That's because I have been reading the epic novel Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. It was recommended to me by a friend after he heard I had read Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon.

Infinite Jest is a novel set in a near dystopian future where the US, Canada and Mexico have all become the same nation. The nation is largely run by a power source called annular fission, which requires a large amount of nuclear storage/wasteland. The US devises a plan where they give the northeast to canada, then transform it into the nuclear storage area.

The story revolves around three story lines.

1. Hal Incandeza, a top junior tennis player at the Enfield Tennis Academy, which was founded by his father.

2. Don Gately, a recovering alcoholic and live-in counselor at The Ennet House Drug and Recovery House.

3. Remy Marathe, a secret double/triple agent for Canada trying to secure an artificial heart for his wife who was born anencephalic.

The entire story is loosely related to tracking down the master copy of a video that is so good, it causes the viewer to not do anything except watch the video. Like Gravity's Rainbow, there is an epic journey with multiple digressions that do not relate to the story. It is a great story, which takes itself a litte too seriously, and has some serious digressions into prescription drugs (which are detailed in the 200 pages of footnotes).

If you're looking for a wide spanning novel with some serious literary background, I would recommend this novel. It took me over a month to read, so be prepared!

Up next is an actual vintage crime novel, Indigo Slam (1997) by Robert Crais.

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