Infinite Jest: How a book should work

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Image by the queen of subtle via Flickr

Ideally, in even a very large and sprawling novel, which David Foster Wallace‘s Infinite Jest certainly is, all the parts of the book are necessary to the whole. The sum of the whole is greater than the accumulation of its parts, etc. This is emphasized in the quote from Infinite Summer, below

So yes, I am glad that I read footnote #24, and all of the rest of them. Footnote #24 contains much useful knowledge about the characters in the story, but you have to dig through the seeming oddity of a filmography of a fictional character in order to get it.

Have patience.

Those digressions that don’t serve the plot (or at least provide a satisfying coincidence that may or may not serve the plot, such as Gately’s role in a separatist’s death or Steeply’s putative puff piece on Poor Tony’s heart-snatchery) serve the theme.

via Infinite Summer » Blog Archive » Nick Douglas: Skim is for Wimps.

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