The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Stage 20

'...the closest Gately'd ever come to Xing a celebrity was the ragingly addicted nursing-student with the head-banging loft, who'd borne an incredible resemblance to the young Dean Martin.'

Begin: Page 896 (“I was going to go back up to see about Stice’s defenestration…”)
End: Page 941 (“Oh shit yes very much.”)

Start Date: 2/19/11
Finish Date: 2/25/11

Note Profile: We’re almost done with the notes at this point, so discontinuing this feature.

The finish line looms. The remaining pages are dwindling, as are the remaining Marchers. I just got a guilty phone call from another dropout, but I’m not holding it against anybody. People have lives. I’m just grateful for the hardy few who have stuck it out. Meanwhile, it’s a rainy day, perfect for reading – to the café!

The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Stage 19

'He's remembering that he used to pretend to himself that the unviolent and sarcastic accountant Nom (sic) on 'Cheers!' (sic) was Gately's own organic father, straining to hold young Bimmy on his lap...'

Begin: Page 845 (“After Rémy Marathe and Ossowiecke, and Balbalis also, they all reported back negatively for all signs of this veiled performer…”)
End: Page 896 (…without jostling the catheter or I.V.s, or the thick taped tube that went down his mouth to God know where.”)

Start Date: 2/12/11
Finish Date: 2/18/11

Note Profile: 18 notes (344–361), all short

Let me quickly address Matt’s comment on the previous thread: I would be very careful about expecting too much in the way of closure in this book. Based on my experience of two long novels by Thomas Pynchon – DFW’s role model, I think – I already feel way ahead of the game in terms of narrative coherence and leery of anticipating anything in particular from the last 140 pages.

Also, his Hamlet reference is apropos, because I feel like we are witnessing a slow-motion tragedy where Hal is concerned. I think we are meant to believe that Hal could have been “saved” had he been sent to a real AA/NA meeting rather than the festival of patheticness he ended up at; instead he is headed directly for where we found him at the beginning of the book. One can only hope things go well for Gately and Joelle; but isn’t that what I just cautioned against? Damn and blast!

The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Stage 18

This photo – taken, I'm told, in Alberta, Canada – put me in mind of the AFR.

Begin: Page 795 (“The most distant and obscure Tuesday P.M. Meeting listed in the little white Metro-Boston Recovery Options booklet…”)

End: Page 845 (“It’s like a big wooden spoon keeps pushing pushing him just under the surface of sleep and then spooning him up for something huge to taste him, again and again.”)

Start Date: 2/5/11
Finish Date: 2/11/11

Note Profile: 11 short notes (333–343), most of them about pharmaceuticals

And here we go – only three weeks left after this one, major revelations coming left and right, the writing moving along at a hallucinatory gallop. If you’ve been lagging behind, now is the time to rally the forces and mount a charge.

The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Stage 17

'...out the big doors whose tympanum overhead is carved with a sword and a ploughshare and a syringe and a soup-ladle and the motto 'CONTRARIA SUNT COMPLEMENTA,' the heaviness of which makes Hal cringe so severely it's Boone who has to supply the translation Kent Blott asks for.'

Begin: Page 751 (“The whole family was lousy with secrets, she’d decided…”)
End: Page 795 (“…first one arm and then, kind of miraculously if you think about it, the other arm.”)

Start Date:
Finish Date: 2/4/11

Note Profile: Either 18 or 19, depending on whether you interpret #332 as part of this week’s reading or next week’s. Some of them are quite lengthy, adding up to about 10 pages of notes, not including 332, which is itself substantial. But take heart: After that, no more notes of any real size.

This thing is starting to feel really real to me; like, we may actually finish the book, in just a few more weeks. I’m enjoying it enough at this point that I’m in no great hurry for it to be over, although the unread non-IJ books are piling up in a corner.

Question for the remaining Marchers: How many people are/want to be on the Skype? It’s been suggested to me that we might want to do some kind of web conference thing sometime between now and the end of the book, so let me know (via comment or email) if that’s an idea that interests you.

The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Stage 16

'The nun's wimple is askew and soiled; the back of her hand, held out in a bladish martial-art fist, displays part of a faded tattoo, some wicked-clawed bird of prey.'

Begin: Page 702 (“Bridget Boone gives him a look.”)
End: Page 751 (“…the woman began to ask about what lengths he believed he was willing to go to.”)

Start Date: 1/22/11
Finish Date: 1/28/11

Note Profile: 27 notes (287–313), including the trés formidable #304 for those of us who haven’t read it already.

A little pressed for time today, but a quick image search turned up not one but two pieces of Blood Sister–related artwork created by people out there in the big wide world. I had to go with the one at the top as my first pick, because the casting is so perfect, but here’s the other: