Post-Wankery: A Review of Infinite Jest

Critical Writing
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Piotr Siemion discusses Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace’s second but surely not definitive novel, just out in a bulging paperback after its last year’s loud and clear hardback thump, looks very much like a whale. It is immense, awe-inspiring, plus it contains tons of undigested matter. Because few serious novels get written these days, it also looks suspiciously like an elephant, of the white variety. It instantly brings to mind all those mammoth playful novels of the American sixties and seventies. For those of us who were only very tentatively around during the first Woodstock, the “encyclopedic” novels of that time were as thick as Tom Clancy’s current chivalry romances but on the average one billion times more dense than Clancy, and like neutron stars, not much of a company for readers who were not rocket scientists during their business hours. 

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