Wallace broke the rules of the postmodern novel by being at once comic and serious, ironic and sincere, obtuse and straight-forward, conscious of narrative and dismissive of the need for narrative. Wallace’s stated aim was not to show how structures (or even meaning itself) deteriorates, but rather to write a book that would be so gripping and entertaining and human that it’d be impossible to put down. And he succeeded. Wallace showed readers that the confusion of contemporary living still leaves plenty of room for originality, pleasure, self-knowledge, and hard-nosed problem-solving. For instance, a chapter in Infinite Jest in which Wallace lists everything one might learn in a 12-step recovery program is simultaneously a hilarious takedown of recovery schemes like AA and an endorsement of such groups’ ability to dramatically improve or even save a human life.