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Infinite Jest (2014)
de David Foster Wallace
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Un lugar: Enfield, Massachusetts. A cien millas de la Gran Concavidad, un yermo radiactivo lleno de bebés mutantes del tamaño de aviones, criaturas sin cráneo y hordas de hámsters salvajes.
Una época: el año de la Ropa Interior para Adultos Depend, en el Tiempo Subsidiado, en una América regida por el totalitarismo ecológico de la ONAN, gobernada a su vez por la oscura Oficina de Servicios No Especificados, en guerra perpetua contra el ultraviolento antiONANismo de Quebec.
Una institución: la Academia Enfield de Tenis, ultraelitista y donde impera una disciplina destinada a abolir todo placer.
Una familia: los Incandenza. James Incandenza, óptico militar convertido en cineasta de après-garde, y su mujer, la promiscua Avril, que alimenta oscuras conexiones con la guerrilla de Quebec. Y sus tres hijos: Orin, genial pateador de fútbol americano y seductor transnacional; Mario, enano y deforme, cineasta como su padre y poseedor de una sensibilidad prodigiosa, y Hal, promesa del tenis juvenil y atormentado por un secreto terrible.
Y una película: El samizdat. El Entretenimiento. La broma infinita. Con el poder de enloquecer a todo el que la vea y destruir así la civilización. El arma perfecta por la que todos se enzarzarán en la Guerra Final por el control de América.
I love things that force me to puzzle my way through them and then reward me for doing so. I love a book that is complicated in both plot and structure. I love a book I can read over and over and find new things within. Infinite Jest is maybe my favorite book.
It has four major plot lines: Hal is a high schooler at a tennis school addicted to marijuana (and he barely does anything in the book, as he is a man of inaction); Don is 30 and a recovering AA member at the house down the hill from the tennis school; there are Quebec terrorists looking for the film that Hal’s late father created that causes anyone who watches it become blissfully catatonic; and the lead actress of this film is entering the recovery house Don is in after an attempted suicide by cocaine.
There are also half a hundred other ongoing plots.
The name of the video that makes the viewer blissfully catatonic is Infinite Jest. Those who see it want to only watch the video for the rest of their lives. This is the main thesis and debate within the book: Is it good to withhold something that seems to make someone happy and is yet damaging to them? The answer is, obviously, yes, and within the book this is the answer. Wallace is railing against a self-medicating society, wherein the medication is both literal (there are MANY references to the precise pharmaceutical names of drugs) and metaphorical. The refusal to take the easy way out is always a choice for these characters, but so often an insurmountable mountain.
Often this results in a deep sadness in the book. It’s so often deeply and sometimes quietly funny, but the darkest and most depressing parts are rendered in painfully sharp detail and wink in and out without warning. Is Infinite Jest a tragedy? No. Maybe. Partially. That may be an answerable question.
But there are glimmers of love and hope. Mario Incandenza, Hal’s brother, unfairly twisted in the womb into a caricature of a human, is, in fact, the most deeply unbiased human in the whole story. He loves everyone, but he loves Hal and his mom (Mrs. Avril Incandenza) the most and totally unconditionally. For a character that doesn’t quite understand people and emotions, Wallace twice puts Mario into a critical position of giving sane advice to two broken characters.
I haven’t even mentioned the prose. Wallace’s language is so distinctly his voice in the combination of obscure vocabulary (I don’t think I've ever seen the word quincunx in another book) and emotional commonplace vernacular that it just about messes up your head in good way and everything like that. Many of the third-person narrative elements are actually “told” in the voice of whatever character is being focused on. Educated characters have a wide-ranging lexicon while characters that have lived their life on the streets casually use racial slurs. In this way, Wallace places the reader’s subconscious into the mind of the character, forcing an empathy that I didn’t even becomes aware of until this, my third read-through.
This time around, I read it in chronological order. I underlined, I flipped around and wrote page numbers in the margins that explain oblique passages, I defined words and translated languages, and I felt like a student again. It opened up so many connections that I hadn’t before put together. Or maybe I was critically looking for new things. Either way, it’s the third time I've read this 1079-page book, and it was a hundred hours well spent. If that’s not enough of a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what can be. If you want my marked-up copy, let me know. I will do whatever I can help people read this, one of my favorite books. “Are we not all of us fanatics?”
A huge convoluted literary magnum opus about addiction, tennis, film, deformities, USA, assassins, crime, unresolved issues, and a hundred other big ideas.
The main arc of the novel was playfully followed then abandoned then followed again in maddening glimpses that gave me the fantods.
It was so messy and cerebral and beautiful that I just couldn't stop reading it. Until, you know, I did.
Confesso-me um desconhecedor da obra de David Foster Wallace (DFW) e o meu primeiro contacto foi precisamente com "A Piada Infinita". Não, não é um livro fácil de ler, por vários motivos.
O primeiro é precisamente a extensão da obra; são 1200 páginas (na edição portuguesa da Quetzal), sendo as últimas 100 páginas dedicadas a apenas notas de fim (quase 400 notas), com muitas delas bastantes extensas e tenda, algumas delas, ainda subnotas, quase lembrando uma ‘matrioska’ de anotações.
Segundo, a macha tipográfica bastante grande, com uma fonte mais pequena do que o habitual, faz com que estas 1200 páginas sejam mais "recheadas" de que o habitual. A isto, deve acrescentar-se que as 100 páginas de notas apresenta uma fonte ainda mais pequena que a do corpo principal do texto.
Terceiro, a narrativa está longe, muito longe de ser linear e intricada, com vários núcleos narrativos, com a acção principal a decorrer em Boston, num futuro não especificado, mas que se crê ser nos primeiro anos da primeira década de 2000. Acresce que a utilização do longo número de anotações provoca uma disrupção da leitura, efeito que, diga-se, foi intencionalmente introduzido por FDW.
Com referi, a narrativa tem lugar no que se parece ser o início do século XXI. Esta dificuldade surge do facto de que os anos deixaram de ser identificados por um número, mas passaram a ser "subsidiados", i.e., cada ano é patrocinado por uma empresa que paga assim para ver o nome da empresa associado a um ano em particular, sendo que grande parte da ação decorre no "Ano da Roupa Interior para Adultos da Marca Depend". Neste futuro alternativo, a disposição geopolítica é completamente diferente, sendo o México, os EUA e o Canada um superestado: a ONAN (Organização Norte-Americana das Nações). E sim, a escolha desta designação foi precisamente para lembrar a palavra "onanismo". Na verdade, o livro é todo ele uma construção crítica à nossa sociedade moderna, ao consumismo, a rivalidade geopolítica, a competividade extrema e às diferentes formas de adição da nossa sociedade, desde as drogas ao consumo de televisão.
A leitura deste livro foi para mim um verdadeiro carrossel de emoções, com momentos de leitura compulsiva a contrastar com momentos de frustração, tendo mesmo pousado o livro durante algum tempo até o retomar novamente. Devido à extensão da obra, e da complexidade da mesma, acredito que muitos detalhes e até informações relevantes me tenham escapado, e ficou claro que este não é um livro de uma leitura única, sendo que muito certamente terei de voltar a ele.
Jason Segel (Marshall Eriksen, em How I Met Your Mother) chegou a sugerir que, aquelas pessoas que pretendam "enfrentar" este livro devem lê-lo em pequenas doses diárias de 45 minutos por dia (https://www.vulture.com/2015/06/jason-segel-on-how-to-read-infinite-jest.html).
Es mostren 1-5 de 236 (següent | mostra-les totes)
[I]t is, in a word, terrible. Other words I might use include bloated, boring, gratuitous, and – perhaps especially – uncontrolled. I would, in fact, go so far as to say that Infinite Jest is one of the very few novels for which the phrase ‘not worth the paper it’s written on’ has real meaning in at least an ecological sense [...] I resent the five weeks of my life I gave over to it; I resent every endlessly over-elaborated gag in the book.
If Mr. Wallace were less talented, you would be inclined to shoot him -- or possibly yourself -- somewhere right around page 480 of ''Infinite Jest.'' In fact, you might anyway. Alternately tedious and effulgent [...] What makes all this almost plausible, and often pleasurable, is Mr. Wallace's talent -- as a stylist, a satirist and a mimic -- as well as his erudition, which ranges from the world of street crime to higher mathematics. While there are many uninteresting pages in this novel, there are not many uninteresting sentences.
"Somewhere in the mess, the reader suspects, are the outlines of a splendid novel, but as it stands the book feels like one of those unfinished Michelangelo sculptures: you can see a godly creature trying to fight its way out of the marble, but it's stuck there, half excavated, unable to break completely free."
Pertany a aquestes col·leccions editorials
Stile libero [Einaudi] (Big)
Té una guia de referència/complement
David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest: A Reader's Guide (Continuum Contemporaries) de Stephen J. Burn
Té un estudi
Becoming the New Man in Post-Postmodernist Fiction - Portrayals of Masculinities in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest de Andrew Steven Delfino
The Eschatological Imagination: Mediating David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest de John Timothy Jacobs
Té una guia del professor
Referències a aquesta obra en fonts externes.
Wikipedia en anglès (1)
A spoof on our culture featuring a drug-and-alcohol rehabilitation house near Boston. The center becomes a hotbed of revolutionary activity by Quebec separatists in revolt against the Organization of North American Nations which now rules the continent.
No s'han trobat descripcions de biblioteca.
Amazon Kindle (0 edicions)
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Google Books — S'està carregant…
Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)813.083Literature English (North America) American fiction By type Genre fiction Realistic fiction
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
Hachette Book Group
Hachette Book Group ha publicat 2 edicions d'aquest llibre.
Edicions: 0316066524, 0316920045
The reason it is getting two stars, instead of an oh-so-tempting one star is that it has moments of sheer genius as well as moments of being quite captivating. And sometimes truly hysterical.
But it IS NOT A NOVEL in the traditional sense of the word. It sets up situations - - and then repeatedly fails to resolve any of them. The characters are interesting, but their stories are never completely told. Never.
You go into the book and suspense is used to propel you forward, but then you a propelled forward into nothingness. Even at the end of the book, new characters were still being introduced - - just more people whose lives will never be known to you.
Can you say UNSATISFYING?? To me (and I'll admit that my insights are fairly suspect), the book is about what happens when people unrelentingly pursue pleasure and success/money. That is the overarching theme.
This theme manifests itself through four main storylines, but there are multiple "sub-themes" running through them. Suicide is a popular focus. So is drug use/abuse.
1. Tennis Academy - - There's a tennis academy for teenagers where the goal is to make it to the "Show" i.e. professional tennis. The kids at the academy are by and large driven to be #1 in tennis - - and some of them are escaping the pressures through smoking marijuana. There's so much drug use going on that another student makes money selling clean urine samples. The storylines are mostly told through vignettes of life in the academy. One that I found very compelling is the story of a 16 year old competitor who plays against the kids in the academy. This kid wasn't a very good at tennis, but he ended up very highly ranked. He did this by carrying a Glock to every match and playing tennis with the Glock up against his left temple. He told opponents that if he lost, he was going to kill himself on the spot. As a result, every opponent let him win, and he became the champion. This vignette takes a whole chapter to relate, and you need to imagine it portrayed in extremely rich detail - - what the kid does, what the opponent is thinking, how the kid is basically using psychological means to get what he wants because he doesn't have the physical gifts. I didn't find this especially funny, but I did find it very creative - - I mean who thinks of this stuff? The book is filled with that kind of creativity - - taking a scenario and pushing it to its nth limit. Sometimes the results are pretty brilliant. And sometimes they are pretty boring - - but I think that is partly due to your own personal experience and background (more on that later).
2. Drug Rehab - - Another significant portion of the book takes place in a drug rehab, and the author does not hold back on describing the residents of the rehab in vivid technicolor - - like one woman with a fake eye who wears it backward so that the little words about the manufacturer point outwards. Stuff that is written in this book both skeeves you out and fascinates you. It really does have the same fascination as watching a train wreck - - in my opinion. You kinda want to look away, but you can't. The problem is that stuff that is compelling for YOU is interspersed with self indulgent parts that totally are NOT.
3. Spies - This is the part that actually has some very clever humor, but that I don't always get. There are two spy rings. One I believe is of Canandian separatists (who want Quebec to be its own country), and those spies are all in wheelchairs. The other ring is American (?), I think, and those spies have to be undercover in the most ridiculous undercover get ups. The spy we meet is this football player type who has to be disguised as a woman. The main goal of these spies is to steal "The Entertainment" and use it as a terrorist weapon - - which is a film so compelling that once people begin watching it, they cannot stop. This storyline was hard for me to follow, and if you asked me how it resolved -- I have NO idea.
4. The Incandenza family - - Hal, Orin, and Mario are brothers - - each with great gifts and serious issues. The dad was a filmmaker who created an entertainment so compelling that people CANNOT stop watching it, once they start. As you can imagine, the guy was an odd duck, and his children are like all kids who grow up with screwed up family lives - - you know, screwed up.
The bottom line is that this book is alternatingly brilliant and boring - - but a few moments of brilliance does not eclipse the fact that the book has no conclusions, no endings, nothing to make you sit back and ponder what you've just read. It's like drinking a bottomless milkshake. Tastes good in the beginning. Satiating in the middle.
And at the end, you just want to vomit and be done with it already. ( )