I dragged up my copy of Infinite Jest last night before going to bed. I suppose that I thought I would make some kind of headway into it at last, after more than a year of ignoring the poor thing. Now it sits on the radiator, staring at me. I left off reading the book last year after it was far more effective at making me feel the cultural emptiness that inhabits and surrounds all of the characters. I needed a time out.
A.S. Byatt‘s writing has life in it. It is solid, and will happily last and live as long as is possible for a book to live.
DFW’s Infinite Jest frightens me with the possibility always of its frivolity, its center of nothingness, despair, entertainment as a main goal in life and entertainment as ultimately empty and leading literally to death and decay and waste around us.
It is amazing that DFW lived long enough to create that work. It is amazing that he lived through all of the experiences that he must have in order to write of these subjects, of addiction to substances and activities and of recovery from these addictions. You can’t simply make up stuff like the monologues and descriptions of AA, in Boston or elsewhere, without having been through the process yourself. This is not something which you can simply imagine or extrapolate or get as advice or reminiscences from friends.