In Infinite Jest, Book Club Sees Finite Ending

Online group may help you finish Wallace's intimidating tome
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2009 3:45 PM CDT
David Foster Wallace's impressive tome, "Infinite Jest," tends to sit on people's bookshelves unread.   (Flickr)
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(Newser) – As the first anniversary of David Foster Wallace’s death approaches, many would-be readers still see his Infinite Jest collecting dust on their bookshelves. Wallace’s 1,079-page tome “has become known equally for its sprawling attention to detail, its near impenetrability, and its effectiveness as a doorstop,” writes Joe Coscarelli for Salon. Enter, envisioned to help its creator deal with Wallace’s death—and finally finish Jest.

Group members follow a syllabus (about 75 pages per week), discuss questions in forums, and read guest essays by, for example, the Decemberists’ Colin Meloy or Wallace’s editor. Jest captures, as Wallace once said, the “real American type of sadness” of a lonely, adrift character—which, Coscarelli writes, “makes the idea of bringing so many people together for a communal reading of the book all that more meaningful.”