I met Infinite Jest at a time when I was majorly depressed and in withdrawal from various drugs and alcohol. I was 20 or 21. I felt known for the first time — I realize how much of an ontological problem it is for a book to know a person, but it’s true.
I came to Infinite Jest after reading “Good Old Neon” from Oblivion. I remember being stunned by the intricacy of each shift in the narrator’s and the character’s perception, the way “David Wallace” is brought into the story, and the unbelievable patience it must have taken to think it through, and to write with such attention – despite the harrowing content. I’d never read anything like it.
It’s this quality of patience and attention I sense in DFW’s work that makes me want to read Infinite Jest seven years later for the fifth time. I feel that I always learn something new each time I read it, but more than anything what I love about IJ is that it’s uncompromising; each character is thought out so deeply and thoroughly — no one is “good” or “bad.” I feel that there is a generosity in this and that this is an attitude I aspire to when thinking of others and myself.