Friday, 3 October 2008

Eye Strain to the Power of What?

While we’re on the subject of David Foster Wallace, did anyone else get to the end of Infinite Jest and think: oh there is no way in hell he’s going to end it like this, except he kinda has to, but hey! Wasn’t the first chapter set a year ahead of the book’s main action? What if some of its more obscure moments were actually hints at how the book’s story resolved or is going to resolve? Oh damn, there’s a huge clue right there! And what about this bit? And does this make sense?

Here’s where the novel’s real cruel beauty is: the start of the book is designed to follow on from the end, just like in The Invisibles ("And so we return and begin again!"). Except where that Grant Morrison comic sought to broaden your sense of the world’s connections and possibilities with each reading, Infinite Jest is designed to hook you over and over again without ever quite paying off. It’s a giant book full of sadness and dissatisfaction, a real literary downward spiral, and you can read it over and over again into perpetuity…

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