[i think there’s going to be a hiatus on this blog, or at least a drastic decrease in what was already a lax update schedule. Productivity in all areas of my life is slowing way down, my energy level is almost nil; it feels like my mental bandwidth has narrowed so much that i cant think straight on anything and yet everything i want to read and write about is logjamming somewhere behind my frontal lobes. Anyway, im just gonna ride this out and see if things get better.]
At this rate ill be getting through DFW’s three novels within nine months of each other, since the philosophy dept. book club plans to hit up THE PALE KING immediately after the JEST. How do i feel about this work? Not overwhelmed like with IJ, but certainly not underwhelmed, either. Just whelmed. It’s a romp. And it’s a dry run for a few ideas that show up again in the JEST, like the need to escape the System. There are at least three dimensions to this System to which this Broom belongs that i can identify: the family, technology, and language. But they are all mixed together in the novel, especially technology and people, human bodies — an important sub-plot involves the telephone lines getting messed up underneath the building Lenore works in because the temperature in the phone line tunnels has increased to that of a human body’s. The repairman goes on about the cable network being analogous to a nervous system.
These notes will include spoilers, but, you know, it’s Wallace. If folks come to this novel for the mystery they will be sorely disappointed, as you can see in the Goodreads reviews. It’s a shaggy story — the text ends mid-sentence, and the missing word is “word.” i read this for my philosophy elective class, which has a classmate who’s also part of the writing program, and she was dissatisfied with the novel until the ending saved it for her.