Wednesday, 4 May 2011
Reviews Of Books I've Never Read
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
As described in my previous book review post, I've been waiting in my dimly lit bathroom wearing my specially devised camouflage underpants, a copy of Thomas Pynchon's Against The Day held firmly in one hand and raised just slightly above my head, in order to kill silverfish that dare to creep from beneath my bathroom sink. A more vile creature has never lived unless you count my smelly and excessively hairy barber, Yargo Varnish, the Devil of Dorsterbrow. My results with Mr. Pynchon's opus (I have thought of switching to Gravity's Rainbow because of the force of the down-stroke illustrating the power of gravity and the rainbow being the feeling that washes over me when I see that silverfish body smashed to smithereens), but Against The Day holds so much promise for me and its glossy cover stands up well to repeated strikes, squashed silverfish innards and the odd urine droplet. But may I say, there is a new book in the running in the form of Mr. Wallace's magnificent work that broke the boundaries of post-modern literature and promises to also break my floor tiling. Let me clearly state it's not only the killing of silverfish that makes this book great. I don't want to mislead people into thinking it is a single purpose book. Additionally, this is one of the finest pieces of literature that I have never read, it's ideas and concepts so startling and forward thinking as to make me veritably dizzy, causing me to collapse upon my sofa bed. Not even a protruding coil spring could rouse me from my thoughtful stupor. There is one particular scene on page 982, so emotive and yet so cutting and indicative of the irony of its age, involving a tennis pro, a grenade and a Scandinavian buffet well-laden with rotting herring, that I wept tears of sadness, laughter, righteous indignation and gastrointestinal pain. This guy doesn't just blow literary convention out of the water, he shoots it out of a cannon at a Civil War re-enactment in Mobile, Alabama. And the vigorous use of footnotes, although a bit perplexing because I have still not trained my eyes to be in two different places at the same time without becoming wall-eyed, only sheds additional light on themes and issues that one might take issue with if one had enough time between swatting silverfish. So, to sum things up, Infinite Jest-it's for me, it's for you, maybe not your mother-in-law though, hey, I'm not joking about this.