Sunday, July 16, 2017

Infinite Jest ; a review

I finished this last night, at 3:33am (that's a number that hits me in life a lot)

There were times where I did not think I would get through this book. There were times where I was so frustrated the begging question was, why the fuck am I still reading this ?

To answer my own question, I continued reading entirely because of how fucking good of a writer David Foster Wallace is. I found myself continually re-reading lines that were just utter genius. I asked myself out loud, on multiple occasions, how can this guy be such a good writer? How is his vocabulary so god damn extensively vast? Why am I googling pedalferrous at 2am? (It means fast driving).

The story unfolds, and is great, but you won't have an utter perfect recall here. Certain chapters will stand out to you. Certain passages. If you value intelligence, quirks, wit, and the love of words, stop wasting your time and read the book.

My favorite passage is still this,
“We all have our little solipsistic delusions, ghastly intuitions of utter singularity: that we are the only one in the house who ever fills the ice-cube tray, who unloads the clean dishwasher, who occasionally pees in the shower, whose eyelid twitches on first dates; that only we take casualness terribly seriously; that only we fashion supplication into courtesy; that only we hear the whiny pathos in a dog’s yawn, the timeless sigh in the opening of the hermetically-sealed jar, the splattered laugh in the frying egg, the minor-D lament in the vacuum’s scream; that only we feel the panic at sunset the rookie kindergartner feels at his mother’s retreat. That only we love the only-we. That only we need the only-we. Solipsism binds us together, J.D. knows. That we feel lonely in a crowd; stop not to dwell on what’s brought the crowd into being. That we are, always, faces in a crowd.”

I mean, fucking look at those words. Look at the structure of it. Dissect it. The descriptions of our everyday, menial tasks are set to hold us higher to ourselves. We all do it. Every single one of us is guilty of it. Though I've never seen it said so perfectly. With such truth. Every one of us has our own unique mind, where we are the star of the show, and everyone else is literally just a face in the crowd. All seven billion of us. We interact and play and love some of the other faces, but we are really each our own God. We decide what we do every minute of the day. We critique ourselves into believing we are the only ones who care about what is going on in life. We build ourselves out of it. We become what we think, and we become the masks we wear.
Billions of masks in a crowd, pretending to be whatever will make us enjoyable to others, while precariously holding onto all of our own individual traits. I'm quite certain DFW hit the nail on the head that we aren't all quite as unique as we like to think we are, but he is right that all those thoughts we do have, are very much our own.
I wish DFW was still alive, 700 pages ago, I would have wanted him to buy me a beer for getting that far into Infinite Jest. Now, at the end, I wish I could just have a weekend to talk to him, and pick his brain, and tell him thanks.

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