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Dave Eggers Flips On David Foster Wallace

dfwallace_infinite_jest.jpgVia the Rake’s Progress, Dave Eggers1996 review of David Foster Wallace‘s Infinite Jest:

[Infinite Jest] is more about David Foster Wallace than anything else. It’s an extravagantly self-indulgent novel, and, page-by-page, it’s often difficult to navigate. Sentences run as long as 800 words. Paragraph breaks are rare. Aside from being incredibly verbose, Wallace has an exhausting penchant for jargon, nicknames and obscure references, particularly about things highly technical, medical or drug-related. … Besides frequently losing itself in superfluous and wildly tangential flights of lexical diarrhea, the book suffers under the sheer burden of its incredible length. (That includes the 96 pages of only sporadically worthwhile endnotes, including one that clocks in at 17 pages.) At almost 1,100 pages, it feels more like 3,000.

Now, 2006, Eggers’ foreword for the new edition:

The book is 1,067 pages long and there is not one lazy sentence. The book is drum-tight and relentlessly smart and, though it does not wear its heart on its sleeve, it’s deeply felt and incredibly moving.

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