I may never finish Infinite Jest. Let’s just get that out there from the start.
I intended to, really, I did, even if only to prove to myself it was, in fact, one giant jest. But we’re coming up on 4 years now and I’m only somewhere around the middle, having not touched the book for around 2 years, except when I’m moving it to dust behind my bedside table. Sure, it’s possible I’ll pick it back up again at some point, since it truly is something I would like to get through. I’m just saying that if you told me to pick 10 books to read, and I would be guaranteed not to die before finishing them, well, I’d probably only need just the one.
Suffice it to say I don’t have the same sort of awe for the author as many people do. I’m intrigued by his frenzied fans. I’m impressed by his ability to inspire such impassioned reviews. I’m saddened by his unfortunate end as much as I am by any human’s choice to leave the world. But I don’t possess the curiosity and fascination surrounding him as the general literary public.
I do love Jason Segel, so it was interesting to see him portray an artist so beloved. I also like thinking about translations and interpretations of people’s work, so the fact that the whole movie was based on a book based on interviews with the writer was a fun mental puzzle to muse over. And I have to admit that I was much more engaged in watching the movie because it was based on a real person named David Foster Wallace than I would have been if it were simply a fictional film about 2 guys talking for an hour and a half.
And still–it felt a LOT longer than the alleged hour and 45 minutes it really was.
And yet–it did make me appreciate not being a tortured artist.