Reviews of Infinite Jest

February 1996 - Atlantic Monthly - Sven Birkerts: "Infinite Jest comes, in time, to seem like some great clattering vehicle that is powered by a rudimentary three-stroke engine, the narrative passing in steady sequence from Enfield to Ennet to a plateau lookout in the Southwest where two Québecois-separatist agents are having a secret rendezvous, trying to determine how their people might get hold of a particular "cartridge," or film cassette. The film, the eponymous "Infinite Jest," was made by James Incandenza and has the terrifying capacity to send anyone who views it into a crazed state of fixation that quickly leads to death. Why or how this should be is never made clear, nor do we expect it to be."

February 12, 1996 - Newsweek - David Gates: "So what is this creepily entrancing novel actually about? You asked for it. O.N.A.N. (the Organization of North American Nations) has made northern New England into a Lucite-walled dump, where toxic waste fuels mutagenic fusion reactions. This worthless, hazardous territory has been given to Canada, and wheelchair-bound Quebecois terrorists plan to retaliate with widespread dissemination of the lethal amusement "Infinite Jest." Seeking the master copy, the Wheelchair Assassins close in on the film's veiled, disfigured star and on the filmmaker's son -- none other than the teen tennis whiz Hal Incandenza."

February 12, 1996 - Newsday - Dan Cryer: "If you believe the hype, David Foster Wallace is about to be crowned the next heavyweight of American fiction. And the accolade is probably deserved. At the very least, Infinite Jest, his new, 1,079-page novel (including 90 pages devoted to esoteric endnotes), gives a whole new twist to the word "infinite." This huge volume will prop open even a castle's gates. Of course, it's exhausting to read such a mega-book. This is the age of the sound bite. But diving into the riches of Infinite Jest is also an exhilarating, breathtaking experience. This book teems with so much life and death, so much hilarity and pain, so much gusto in the face of despair that one cheers for the future of our literature."

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