The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Stage 21 (and Final!)

'...even the Classic Comics version of Ethan From was now beyond his abilities...'

Begin: Page 941 (“By a rather creepy coincidence…”)
End: The end.

Start Date: 2/25/11
Finish Date: ASAP

Can you freakin’ believe it?

7 Responses to “The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Stage 21 (and Final!)”

  1. JES Says:

    Oh man. I was hoping for so much more, although the John Wayne and Avril connection was interesting. All in all, I enjoyed the challenge, have no regrets, and can’t believe we’re finished! Not sure I’m of the mindset that DFW is a literary genius and quite sure I will not read anything else he has written. This has been a great way to read a difficult book. I enjoyed the experience and blogging with y’all.

  2. Debra Says:

    o.k. alas I finished it yesterday. I’m too straight-laced for a book like this, kind of the Kitchen Confidential of Tennis???? I’m more of the overdosing on peanut M&Ms type… the only other Deathmarch I’ve completed was Pynchon – go figure. Although now I’ve asked a few people to look down their shirts and spell attic. And will always remember LIFE IS LIKE TENNIS THOSE WHO SERVE BEST USUALLY WIN.

  3. bill Says:

    I finished about 11:00 last night, and, um, wha? Not sure what kind of message he’s sending leaving off with that David Lynch-style horrorshow, complete with references to A Clockwork Orange and the Tape of Only Linda. (I’ve never heard it, but heard about it.)

    Wondering now about what happened to Hal. Are we supposed to think that some clandestine pot smoking made him go to pieces that way? That seems disingenuous at best, dishonest at worst. Did Pemulis secretly dose him at some point? Went back and reread the first section looking for clues: he says “Call it something I ate,” and that’s juxtaposed with the story about the mold, is that supposed to tell us something? Also, the first section of the book is chronologically the latest, which makes for a weird effect.

    Overall my arc with this book went from frustrated and annoyed, to totally into it and eager to get to the next part, to kind of frustrated and annoyed again. But couldn’t have done it without help, for sure.

  4. Bobdee Says:

    Wow, finished! A little let down, it just ends -in the middle of business as usual. The final scenes are so depressing, but they do fill in some chapters of Gately’s life. The Asst. DA’s plight comes back – now he needs Gately’s forgiveness? The tooth brush picture had much more of an impact than I could have imagined.

    But despite the let down, I can look back over this crazy novel and see that it was a rather remarkable journey. There are so many interesting ideas presented. I think about things like: far out visions of the future, the possible effects future technology can have on the world, the funny stories, the crazy Incandenza’s, the realities, the isights, etc. There is great fodder for conversation here. A lot of people have asked me what it is about, and it is fun to tell about some of the stuff. But, the aspect of the book that stands out pretty far above everything else, in my mind, is the descriptions of the Ennet House people, the AA meetings, etc. This is probably my main carry away.

    Well, thanks Bill, you have done a remarkable job in keeping us going and making this more interesting. Also, I thank everyone still in the march. I would have dropped the book long ago if it had not been for all of you fellow marchers.

  5. Computilo Says:

    I really can’t believe that I completely forgot about the beginning of the book (Hal) until the end. Way too much in between. I wondered how it would have been to have read the whole damn thing in one marathon weekend. Oh well, as our leader has noted, people have lives. Thanks everyone for your insights and encouragement!

  6. Matt Says:

    Sigh, just…sigh. It feels good to finally be done but I’m pretty disappointed with the ending. The blow was softened by Bill preparing me a few weeks ago for total lack of closure. I’m not sure which is worse, a bad ending to a great, long book (The Stand’s deus ex machina comes to mind…) or no ending at all.

    I’m frustrated that we’re left wondering just how it all plays out although I’m wondering if it is in actuality spelled out and I just wasn’t paying close enough attention. It’s also realistic that we were being shown what ultimately happens throughout but you can’t realize it until being given information from later in the book.

    With all of this in mind I went back to the opening section like Bill. I’m certain Hal is on the DMZ that Pemulis had but I don’t exactly know how it came to be taken. Doubt that Pemulis would slip it to Hal without his approval. The lack of conclusion with regards to Pemulis is one of the things that most upset me. He was easily my favorite character in this novel and they appear to set him up for some great scheme in the end but instead there is no resolution to his character.

    The opening section has an interesting bit after Hal is being restrained where he sort of meanders through a lot of the characters and, upon first reading, it is impossible to have any idea what he is talking about. However, one part is telling with a second reread. He mentions that John Wayne would have probably won the WhatABurger and alludes to him watching with a mask while Hal and Don Gately dig up the head of his father. Implies that either the AFR got to Hal to recover the Master although I’m not sure why Don would have been with him.

    Overall this was a tiring read but an incredibly well written novel, IMO. I have a great respect for DFW. My friend that had originally recommended it to me said that it was instantly in his top five books of all time and that with a second read it might be number one. I can’t put it in my top five most enjoyed and I doubt I’ll ever make it for a second go-round but it is definitely up for the best writing I’ve experienced.

    This is getting long, I might dip back in for another response later when I’ve had time to marinate but would love to hear some more thoughts and ideas about the ending and missing gaps in the story from everyone else. Also, what’s up with the Skype chat?

    Either way, thanks for running this Bill and nice work to everyone who stuck it out!

  7. BradH Says:

    I’ve just found and and am compelled to share Chris Ayers’ fantastic work visualizing the films of J. O. Incandenza:

    I know the deathmarch is long over, but this still feels like the place to do that. Enjoy, posterity.

Leave a Reply