Books: Ten Years Beyond Infinite

Revolutionary or unreadable? The long, strange afterlife of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest

In 1996 a curious object came to the attention of readers. It was made of paper but looked more like a cinder block than a book. It contained acronyms and chemical formulas and footnotes. It radiated dangerous amounts of hype and spoke of a future in which each calendar year would be sold for corporate sponsorship, e.g., the Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar, the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. It was, in short, like something sent from above to test the good faith and resolve of book lovers everywhere. It was David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest (Little, Brown; 1,079...

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