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infinitejoe

Infinite Joe

I like challenging books that make you think, and leave you happy that you did. Typically, I find character driven literary fiction the most satisfying, although I in no way think of myself as a serious literary critic.

Currently reading

Unaccustomed Earth
Jhumpa Lahiri
Progress: 282/333 pages

Girl with Curious Hair

Girl with Curious Hair - David Foster Wallace I find myself dropped in the middle of a large stream or a small river, the size of said waterway not so much the issue as is the current, which if to be described in a word, adjectives involving speed not being completely relevant, and being abandoned in favor of the word 'consistent'. I'm in this water and find myself being carried with unyielding consistency towards something, but I'm not sure what. Maybe it's the ocean, with its accompanying feelings of uncertainty and dread and overwhelming force, or maybe it's a relatively stagnant lake, albeit one with some kind of surreal algae bloom that's both interesting and oddly disconcerting at the same time. Maybe it's bringing me right to the brink of a waterfall, where I'll end up unsupported and falling, or maybe I'm unwittingly in a lazy river in a well disguised water park, and I'll end up right back where I started. Regardless of where I'm headed, however, the water is exactly 98.6 degrees, and I don't feel 'immersed in' as much as I feel 'a part of' the current, and I just let myself be carried along comfortably to wherever the river or stream decides to take me, with all destinations being not only equally acceptable, but desired.

That's kind of how I feel when I read DFW.

Anyway, I enjoyed pretty much all of the short stories here, even the last one which was more of a novella, and which I enjoyed despite knowing that there was much more to the story than I had facilities to grasp. This sent me to the Howling Fantods website, which led me to a two-part analysis of the novella, which in turn directed me to a few pages from a book appropriately titled "Understand David Foster Wallace", which was almost as good as the novella itself and really blew the story wide open for me, on many levels. I learned that much of the story has to do with a metafictional critique on metafiction, and is very closely tied to John Barth’s "Lost in the Funhouse", which I am now looking forward to read in order to understand the novella and DFW even further.

Man, this is fun.