As I settle in for read #3 of D.F. Wallace’s Infinite Jest, I try to identify what pulls me back into this massive tome yet again. As JK would say, “You’re just fulfilling the thesis all over again.” Yeah, I know. But that’s not the point.
From my first time through I gleaned two major conclusions:
- An author can successfully braid h[im/er]self in and out of styles while presenting a unified elaboration. (and)
- I had no fucking idea what had just throttled my brain.
My second read was made less overwhelming by the initial engagement. The sixteen thousand pound volume weighed not as heavily in my hands or thoughts and I was able to approach the novel with a more receptive attitude. What had seemed minutia before had become nuance. Previously irrelevant details were absorbed as critical elements re: sub-plots. The project illuminates itself from a curious within. It’s doubly entrancing, if only because I admit to myself somewhere between footnote 27 and page 350 that I’m walking away with a fraction of what I should.
I want to be prepared this time and have tried to prepare the following list to deploy for this third approach:
- What role do the insects play?
- What parallels exist between Hal and Don? How does this relate to the Masked Woman?
- What’s with the Sylvia Plath imagery?
- Is the Crooner a penultimate libertarian messiah-figure? In what way does the Concavity-as-Wasteland lend credence to this conclusion?
This will be a fun re-read. Perhaps even serious this time.