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Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
It will start in the E.R., at the intake desk if C.T.'s late in following the ambulance, or in the green-tiled room after the room with the invasive digital machines; or, given this special M.D.-supplied ambulance, maybe on the ride itself: some blue-jawed M.D. scrubbed to an antiseptic glow with his name sown in cursive on his white coat's breast pocket and a quality desk-set pen, wanting gurneyside Q&A, etiology and diagnosis by Socratic method, ordered and point-by-point. There are, by the O.E.D. VI's count, nineteen nonarchaic synonyms for unresponsive, of which nine are Latinate and four Saxonic. I will play either Stice or Polep in Sunday's final. Maybe in front of Venus Williams. It will be someone blue-collared and unlicensed, though, inevitably—a nurse's aide with quick-bit nails, a hospital security guy, a tired Cuban orderly who addresses me as jou—who will, looking down in the middle of some kind of bustled task, catches what he sees as my eye and ask So yo then man what's your story?

About the Author

Infinite Jest: Reviews, Articles & Miscellany
The Howling Fantods page
The Unofficial
Signed, Wallace


In Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace does for obsessive compulsives what Thomas Pynchon does for paranoids in Gravity's Rainbow. In his essays, Wallace has referred to the work of Samuel R. Delany and Mark Leyner, among others.