Oops, I’m posting this a few days late. That’s mostly because I had no such luck on catching up; last week got a little insane and I didn’t get to “cram” as I’d hoped to. But it’s moving along, and I should catch up soon. There’s a big margarita (or two) with my name on it when I reach the halfway point, so trust: I’ll get there ASAP.
My main thoughts thus far:
I know there are die-hards out there. I’m definitely not one of them. I don’t hate the book, and I’ll definitely finish, but I keep vacillating between thoughts like, “Okay, David, STFU with this 20+ pages of Eschaton bullshit,” and “David, that was brilliant!” It’s a constant toss up between extreme annoyance at pointless footnotes, and utter adoration for the way he writes certain characters (hel-lo, Mario Incandenza).
So when I think of the die-hards, I ask: how much of the IJ love is based on the book itself, and how much comes from the fact that this is Written By The David Foster Wallace?
I mean, really. Yeah, the book is filled with moments of genius, but would you cut the novel the same slack—do you think you could/would defend the length, the awkwardly-placed endnotes, the descriptions that sometimes lead to nowhere, etc.—had it been written by, say, Ethan Hawke?*
I have a feeling the answer is a big fat NO.
* I’m going with Ethan Hawke solely based on his character in Before Sunrise/Before Sunset, since Jesse seems like someone who would could feasibly mete out a Steeply/Maranthe conversation. As an aside, Hawke has indeed written two novels, but uh…chances are I ain’t reading those.