Sunday, September 15, 2013

Declaring a Truce with Infinite Jest

Back at the end of May, I decided I would read Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. It's now September and I've only managed to read about 150 pages or so. It is not an easy read and I knew this going in. After the first 80 pages, I ended up starting over again. However I am setting aside now as frustrating as that is for me. I fully intend to pick it back up again at some point, but for now I just can't devote myself to it like I need to in order to finish it. This is not a book where I can read a page or two at bedtime or during my lunch break. It requires a fierce concentration to make sense of it due to Wallace's style (or more accurately various styles which shift with each viewpoint) and his non-linear narrative and his enormous vocabulary which includes words he's made up. The book is quite intriguing, but in more of a dry, clinical way than an emotional connection. I do want to read it, but for the moment I can't devote the time and energy needed. The next time I take some time off from work, I may pick it up then. Wallace has not defeated me; I will read the book. Just not quite yet.

Until then I will find other things to read. For now, I'm starting with Snow Falling on Ceders by David Guterson. I've read the first twelve pages and don't feel my brain melting so that's a good sign.