Orion Reads
a diary of books etc.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Infinite Jest, Black Hole

So i finally finished David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest for the second time.
What can i say. The world is divided into two kinds of people by this book, and as a member of one of them, i think it's impossible to explain the awesomeness of the book to anybody of the other kind. - You (i) end up just seeming obsessed and rabid, and i have a suspicion it's not pretty. Not attracive.

Anyhow. So i'm going to try hard to do the following only once:

This is the best book ever.

Besides just general bestness, it's also primarily one of the funniest things i've ever read. I laugh lots. Wallace's writing style, in addition, makes pretty much all other authors except maybe Amis seem to be unintroduced to anything beyond the power paragraph.

I think a lot of people may be intimidated by the size and uh vocabulary of IJ, but they really shouldn't be. The size is a wonderful thing because it's a wonderful book. And the vocabulary, it's not so bad. One thing *not* to do is keep a dictionary handy, because you'll be referring to it like half the time and as Mike pointed out, end up getting distracted and spending a lot of time reading the dictionary for it's own sake.

Kai spotted the comic book Black Hole by Charles Burns coming thru used at her bookshop, and wonderfully nabbed it for me. Black Hole has been published as seperate comic books over pretty much the last decade, and has finally been released in one big hardcover. It's basically one of the most disturbing comic (and story) i've ever read. It makes me itch and feel uncomfortable. Don't read it before a job interview. I'm a big fan of the Downer-type comics such Ghost World and Optic Nerve, and this is definitely in that category.

It's the story of a group of high-school kids in the early 70s where there's a disease going around a lot like AIDS in that you get it via sex. Except unlike AIDS, it mutates your body in some unpredictable and varyingly horrific way. For example tentacles on your ribs, a mouth on your throat, or possibly a cute tail. The disease carries extreme stigma, and the kids who have it bad all live out in the dark dark woods, living on junk food.

So that's the plot, but the real despair and creepiness is pretty plot-independant, and you can get it from just one page.

Here's a frame from Black Hole which i think sums up the mood fairly well. Except add in mutation.



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