Infinite Jest

Today we are continuing an ancient tradition that almost certainly zero of my current readers are aware of.

I recently finished Infinite Jest (It took me about 2 months — holy shit). It was awesome and interesting and whatever. This is not the time for analysis or criticism. This is the time for great quotes.

I’d tell you all you want and more, if the sounds I made could be what you hear.

The insect on the shelf was back. It didn’t seem to do anything. It just came out of the hole in the girder onto the edge of the steel shelf and sat there. After a while it would disappear back into the hole in the girder, and he was pretty sure it didn’t do anything in there either. He felt similar to the insect inside the girder his shelf was connected to, but was not sure just how he was similar.

He had not sat down and outright bold-faced lied to her, it had been more of an impression he’d conveyed and nurtured and allowed to gather its own life and force. The insect was now entirely visible.

Well how about you either give me electro-convulsive therapy again, or give me my belt back. Because I can’t stand feeling like this another second, and the seconds keep coming on and on.

Everyone should get at least one good look at the eyes of a man who finds himself rising toward what he wants to pull down to himself.

This is also how not to fear sleep or dreams. Never tell anyone where you are. Please learn the pragmatics of expressing fear: sometimes words that seem to express really invoke.

It was when her hands started to tremble during this part of the cooking procedure that she’d first known she liked this more than anyone can like anything and still live.

‘So then at forty-six years of age I came here to learn to live by cliches,’ is what Day says to Charlotte Treat right after Randy Lenz asked what time it was, again, at 0825. ‘To turn my will and life over to the care of cliches. One day at a time. Easy does it. First things first. Courage is fear that has said its prayers. Ask for help. Thy will not mine be done. It works if you work it. Grow or go. Keep coming back.’

It’s like he’s frozen on this anxiety, unable to move on to more advanced anxieties. He can’t see any way past this.

‘I am deformed with beauty.’

    (This is why, maybe, one Subject is never enough, why hand after hand must descend to pull him back from the endless fall. For were there for him just one, now, special and only, the One would be not he or she but what was between them, the obliterating trinity of You and I into We. Orin felt that once and has never recovered, and will never again.)

And about contempt, it is about a kind of hatred, too, along with the hope and need. Because he needs them, needs her, because he needs her he fears her and so hates her a little, hates all of them, a hatred that comes out disguised as a contempt he disguises in the tender attention with which he does the thing with her buttons, touches the blouse as if it too were part of her, and him. As if it could feel. They have stripped each other neatly. Her mouth is glued to his; she is his breath, his eyes shut against the sight of hers. they are stripped in the mirror and she, in a kind of virtuoso jitterbug that is 100% New World, uses O.’s uneven shoulders as support to leap and circle his neck with her legs, and she arches her back and is supported, her weight, but just one hand at the small of her back as he bears her to bed as would a waiter a tray.

— here pretend i typed in pages 695-698 entire

It now lately sometimes seemed like a kind of black miracle to me that people could actually care deeply about a subject or pursuit, and could go on caring this way for years on end. Could dedicate their entire lives to it. It seemed admirable and at the same time pathetic. We are all dying to give our lives away to something, maybe. God or Satan, politics or grammar, topology or philately — the object seemed incidental to this will to give oneself away, utterly. To games or needles, to some other person. Something pathetic about it. A flight-from in the form of a plunging-into. Flight from exactly what? These rooms blandly filled with excrement and meat? To what purpose?

Fackelmann claimed to have started a Log just to keep track of Kite’s attempted pickup lines — surefire lines like e.g. ‘You’re the second most beautiful women I’ve ever seen, the first most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen being form British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher,’ and ‘If you came home with me I’m unusually confident that I could achieve an erection,’ and said that if Kite wasn’t still cherry at twenty-three and a half it was proof of some divine-type grace.

And to be sure there are many more — most every page is full of fun and interesting prose. These are just the ones I wrote down on the days I had a pen and the energy to mark pages.

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