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Infinite Jest’s flying circus

Director and Monty Python alumnus  Terry Gilliam offers his assessment of David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest” in Mother Jones:

“I’m reading David Foster Wallace’s ‘Infinite Jest,’ and I seem to have been reading it for the last seven months. It’s the thickest, most word-heavy book I’ve ever read. And it’s wonderful!”

I couldn’t agree more. I’m a few months and several hundred pages into Wallace’s epic. Truly a brilliant book, but also very challenging. I keep thinking of “Moby Dick,” where Melville heaps detail upon detail on the reader. All that information becomes a literary speedbump, forcing the reader to slow down and dig deep into the story rather than gobbling it up like an action/adventure flick.

I’m particularly enjoying a trend in “Infinite Jest” where something seems really implausible, and then I catch an echo of it in today’s headlines. In Wallace’s universe, advertisers can buy naming rights to each calendar year. Events don’t happen in 2011; they happen in the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. Seemed ridiculous. But then I caught myself watching the Tennessee Vols lose in the Chick-fil-A Bowl …

As for Gilliam, the Mother Jones interview definitely is worth a look if you’re a fan.