Is Infinite Jest Worth Reading?

By Dianne Catapang Written by Dianne Catapang
Updated on August 13, 2023

Infinite Jest is a novel by David Foster Wallace published on February 1, 1996. It was written in a narrative structure and considered an encyclopedic novel. Given its length, some of you may ask, “Is Infinite Jest worth reading?” Read on to find out.

The Infinite Jest novel is worth reading for people looking for unique and different forms of writing. Mostly, it is for readers who are into postmodernist works as a whole. 

Infinite Jest Worth Reading?

Is Infinite Jest a Masterpiece?

To classify any piece of literature or art as a masterpiece, it must be a highly praised work by critics and must be the greatest work of the author or an artist. And based on it, Infinite Jest can be considered a masterpiece of the author, David Foster Wallace. 

However, it is a different story if all individuals who have read it are asked. Thanks to the internet, many readers can now voice their opinions about the novel. 

While there are many positive reviews about it, there are also some negative reviews. Some are neutral about it. 

They said that even though they find the novel quite enjoyable, they don’t recommend it to others that much. The whole novel comes with an absurd parody theme about many topics and is not for everyone. 

Infinite Jest Worth Reading?

When Does Infinite Jest Get Good?

Many readers said that they got confused when reading the first 100-200 pages. Then, most of them continued reading, and it became more enjoyable from the 400th to the 500th page.

But generally, if you don’t find a novel interesting at all, then it is not recommended to read any further. Only you as a reader can know and find out when Infinite Jest gets good. Some readers found it interesting within the first 100 pages, and others in 300 pages. 

Why You Shouldn’t Read Infinite Jest

Before deciding whether you shouldn’t read Infinite Jest, it is important to know what kind of novel it is in the first place. Infinite Jest is an encyclopedic novel. 

Encyclopedic novels are known to belong to novels with many pages. If you are not into long books, then Infinite Jest is not for you. 

The whole Infinite Jest novel contains more than a thousand pages in it. Its nature also involves various topics in science and humanities, both fictional and real. 

How Difficult is It to Read Infinite Jest?

It may not sound easy to read Infinite Jest after you know that it contains more than a thousand pages. But it is not the real reason why some readers find it difficult to read. 

You will need to read endnotes aside from the main notes. Also, unlike other novels where you can point out difficult to understand, you can’t get in Infinite Jest. 

At least, not right away. It isn’t easy to track where the story is going, and the progression itself is unclear. 

Infinite Jest Worth Reading?

How Long Should It Take to Read Infinite Jest?

Many factors can affect how long your reading time might be. Infinite Jest is about 1,079 pages long.

It means that if you are reading a page within a minute, it will take you almost 18 hours to finish the whole book. That is if you easily understand everything that is in the book. 

What is the Meaning of Infinite Jest?

The Infinite Jest novel got its name from a line in Hamlet. Hamlet was written by William Shakespeare and was published in 1603. 

The specific line in Hamlet is when Hamlet speaks of the court jester’s skull by the name ‘Yorick.’ “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite Jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!”

Who Wrote the Book Infinite Jest?

David Foster Wallace wrote the book Infinite Jest. He is an author and an English university professor of creative writing. 

He was born on February 21, 1962, and passed away on September 12, 2008, at 46. His Infinite Jest novel belonged to the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005.

He was also called by David Ulin of the LA Times “one of the most influential and innovative writers of the last twenty years.”

Is Infinite Jest an Epic?

Infinite Jest is also categorized as a tragicomic epic. It also comes with many influences on the postmodern condition.

Tragicomedy is a genre that involves comedy and tragedy at the same time. Infinite Jest’s content involved similar elements. 

Infinite Jest Worth Reading?

Why is Infinite Jest so Great?

Infinite Jest is great because it’s a puzzle made up of smaller, more delicate puzzles. It is a complex network of jokes, riddles, satire, and tragedy. 

You can read it and experience it for yourself. But it will depend on you if it is great or not in your opinion.