Sunday, January 8, 2012

Reasons why Bible readers/teachers should read David Foster Wallace's 'Infinite Jest'

in no particular order

1. It is a fantastic book

2. It is rampant with intertextuality.

3. It contains complex thoughts on addiction and desire

4. Rumoured to have a chiastic structure

5. It moves beyond post-modernism, a response more to the technological reality of post-humanism

6. Like the Bible, on a first read, it seems to be full of irrelevant detail. But on subsequent readings you realise every detail is important, every detail a window to the whole.

One of the characters has an influence over the speech of others, in a strange and not quite clear way. They don't lose their agency, but someone else is in there too.

Feel free to add some more


Tim Smartt said...

8. It's about - among a way large number of other things* - a few like extremely complicated and messed upped human beings who are way likable just trying to reach down and overcome their obsessive selfishness and loneliness that they've either had handed down to them from their parents or have somehow mysteriously absorbed** from their culture or that they have adopted as like a response to a frighteningly messed up world and but so they are just like trying to scrape together the leftovers no not even the leftovers like the dregs of a life that has some happiness or meaning to it.

* don't even ask.
** to bait your interest, mysteriously absorbing things forms one of the central mysteries of the book.

Mike W said...

yes , good summary Tim, yet in all that the book is compassionate.
I got into wallace accidentally while looking for a jonathan Franzen book, read a review which said wallace had the analysis of Franzen, but actually loved his characters.
** the human also bleeds into the environment..I'm pretty sure that if I mapped out Enfield and boston we would have a human (the lung, the brain of the university, etc)

Tim Smartt said...

Nice point about the human bleeding into the environment - hadn't thought of that! From memory, the radio station Madame Psychosis broadcasts from at MIT is shaped like a giant brain right? I'm looking forward to reading IJ for a second time, I'm sure it will appear really different a second time through...