13 - I Guess It Wasn't Infinite Because It Ended (pg 908-981)

  • Posted on
  • by
  • The first explainer for the ending of the book that Kate reads in the episode was What Happens at the End of Infinite Jest? (or, the Infinite Jest ending explained) by the late, lamented Aaron Swartz. He also wrote a blog post On Finishing Infinite Jest.
  • “And here, really, is the enigma of David Foster Wallace’s work generally and Infinite Jest specifically: an endlessly, compulsively entertaining book that stingily withholds from readers the core pleasures of mainstream novelistic entertainment, among them a graspable central narrative line, identifiable movement through time, and any resolution of its quadrumvirate plotlines.” - Four Theories Toward the Timeless Brilliance of Infinite Jest
  • “Perfect, however, ‘Infinite Jest’ is not: this 1,079-page novel is a ‘loose baggy monster,’ to use Henry James’s words, a vast, encyclopedic compendium of whatever seems to have crossed Mr. Wallace’s mind.” - Michiko Kakutani, New York Times 1996 BOOKS OF THE TIMES;A Country Dying of Laughter. In 1,079 Pages.
  • “Long after publication Wallace maintained this position, stating that the novel ‘does resolve, but it resolves … outside of the right frame of the picture. You can get a pretty good idea, I think, of what happens’. Critical reviews and a reader’s guide have provided insight, but Burns notes that Wallace privately conceded to Jonathan Franzen that ‘the story can’t fully be made sense of’.” - the Wikipedia article for Infinite Jest

Fuzzy started this podcast because he couldn’t find an existing podcast that worked through Infinite Jest. There must have been something in the zeitgeist, because Fuzzy’s brother pointed us at Jest Friends, a podcast that started around the same time as this one. They’re only about halfway through, as they’re reading around 50 pages a week. Good luck to them!