Wednesday, November 3, 2010

TCoE Reads Infinite Jest - #2

Currently on page: 49

Footnotes read today: 1

Today I reached the point where Infinite Jest begins to become seriously schizophrenic in tone.

I must note, here, that this isn't my first attempt at reading the book. I read a decent-sized chunk while staying with a friend, some years ago. My intention at the time was to borrow the book and finish it after my stay, but having gotten some way in I decided to give it up as a bad job, because I found the book irritating. Actually, I think I was not too far short of where I am now; I thought it was 100 pages but it seems to be somewhat less.

Well, this time I am not irritated, pleasingly enough. We've been through a number of internal narratives now, the story seeming to jump around between first and third person narration but always focusing on the lived experience of one person or other. I am finding the book much more interesting; determined to finish on deadline but taking the book only as a purely leisurely pursuit, I am free to hate it and mock it and I find that neither applies.

What I didn't remember about the book from my first reading, that is most obvious this time, is the puzzlers' delight of figuring out the temporal locus of the narrative. There is just enough (and I mean just enough) gibberus technologicus that it makes this interesting; putting oneself back into the mindset of the mid-90s is the most fun part of this. I still don't know if this is in the entertainingly-near future, or the exotically-nomenclatured present.

The best parts of today's reading were, easily, Orin's tales of bug horror, and the midnight conversation of Hal and Booboo. I have a stepbrother but not a "real" brother (I do have a sister) and I always look on my sons' relationship with a smidgen of envy. There was a breath of that in Hal and Booboo.

In fact, everything else today was a bit of a snooze. One cavil : no NFL team would ever trade a punter.