Infinite Winter (Week Four)

There hasn’t been any new articles on Woodcock since last week. Instead I’ve been focusing on recording, editing and uploading new episodes of Cock Review leading up to the Oscars (our predictions are in the latest episode) but with the help of a few late nights I’ve managed to keep up with Infinite Winter.

I was weary this week. Infinite Jest seemed more like a chore than something to enjoy. That wasn’t due to the content of this week’s pages (though finding an extremely long endnote 110 as you’re about to go to bed gives you a nice ending point but also fills you with anticipatory dread that you will have to read it the next day whilst not making a dent with the assigned 75 pages a week), but down to an increased workload from other places and a continuing job search.

The limited time works two ways, you want to get through Infinite Jest as quickly as possible but to get the most from the text you need to take your time. I did a little of both, speeding through Gatley’s section at Ennet House and Poor Tony’s withdrawal and parts of the elective classes at the E.T.A.. In a book as big as Infinite Jest it’s inevitable that there will parts that aren’t as interesting as others and that’s OK. There’s no need to enjoy, or force yourself to enjoy the entirety of something like this. If anything it’s impossible. But it does make it easier to appreciate the parts you do like. This week it was finding out about Mario’s birth, Orin’s conversion from tennis player to NFL kicker and the tournament with Port Washington. At this point DFW is filling in some gaps that I wanted, like the backstory to the Incandenza’s and strengthened relationships, especially between Orin and Hal through two phone conversations that sandwich this week’s reading (if you’re reading the footnotes anyway)

I suspect this is why a lot of people who have stuck with Infinite Jest have said that the 300 page mark was where they fell in with the book. At 32% of the way through (and finally making a dent into the spine of the book) we have developed a sense of the characters, especially the Incandenza brothers and their parents, the world of the E.T.A. and Ennet House, as well as the anti-O.N.A.N. sentiment from Quebec that has loomed large over the story with some interesting links that I’m hoping will be explored in the remaining two thirds of the book. The videotape hasn’t been mentioned in a while. I hope that comes back. It exactly how you’d imagine DFW redoing The Ring.

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