6.29.2009

This makes my heart hurt

David Foster Wallace was my favorite author, and Infinite Jest is one of my two favorite novels. (The other is Till We Have Faces, by C. S. Lewis.) I've read it two and a half times, and will doubtless read it at least a couple more. (The first half attempt came when I took it with me on residency interviews, and accidentally left it in Washington, DC.) When DFW died, I ran out and bought all the books he had written that I hadn't read at Barnes & Noble, and I'm just finishing Consider the Lobster.

As strange as this may sound, DFW's suicide came to mind with last week's death of Michael Jackson. Obviously, this isn't due to any similarity at all between the two men. However, I remember how utterly disorienting it felt when I learned that he had died. Here was a man whose writing had informed the person I am now, who was funny and wise and sad in a way that mattered to me. I had never met the man, had hoped to one day, and now never would. How was I to mourn someone I didn't really know? Was it awful and pretentious and maudlin to even considering myself to be "mourning"? So, as vastly different as the two men were, I have some sympathy for people who are kind of messed up that Michael Jackson is dead, even if I can't relate to their specific fandom.

So, it is with a great degree of pleasure that I learn via Julian Sanchez that he (along with a few other bloggers I happen to read regularly) will be reading Infinite Jest this summer and blogging about the experience. I am so terribly excited about this, it's almost embarrassing. But I also am incredibly jealous, because I really love this book. It is, without a doubt, the truest thing I've ever read about how hard it can be to be happy, and how wonderful it is when you are. I would love to be in a room with these people and talk about the book, and share my guesses about some of its (many) unanswered questions. And, of course, it reminds me that I miss a person I never actually knew.

I will, of course, have to content myself with being a persistent commenter, and hope that I don't get too irritating.

Update: This is all part of Infinite Summer, wherein people read and comment on Infinite Jest in a summer-long reading project. In other words, Dan has something else to obsessively check and recheck this summer.

1 comment:

  1. I want to be involved in infinite summer too (it'd be my fourth? fifth? reading) but have some library books I need to get through before I can get started. also, once I start I know there's no way I can keep to their schedule; IJ demands voracity.

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