Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Infinite Rainbow

I've now decided that my current book, Gravity's Rainbow, is my toughest assignment so far. And I can't imagine any of the remaining 20 book will be this difficult either.

I'm currently sitting on page 605 of 776, and feel completely helpless. I'm not really sure what is going on, nor who the main characters really are, which makes it difficult to pick it up. For the past six weeks, this book has rarely been more than five feet away from me, but has spent more time as a paper weight than an open book. I just can't bring myself to open on most days. This results in me not reading anything else either, as I feel guilty when I do so, knowing I should be reading Gravity's Rainbow.

Sadly I think I am now at a point where my only goal is to finish the book, even if that means my eyes are only glossing over the words within. I'm still reading it, but I don't think very much of it is sinking in. This is a book, perhaps the first from the list, that I definitely would not finish, were it not for this project. And I don't think I can really imagine anybody finishing it voluntarily.

A passage about Infinite Jest was recently brought to my attention, from the book The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. I think it could apply to Gravity's Rainbow as well, maybe even more so:

"And how rare is it to find someone who shares your tastes? The one real fight they'd had was over David Foster Wallace. It was around the time of Wallace's suicide. A.J. had found the reverent tone of the eulogies to be insufferable. The man had written a decent (if indulgent and overlong) novel, a few modestly insightful essays, and not much else.
'Infinite Jest is a masterpiece,' Harvey had said.
'Infinite Jest is an endurance contest. You manage to get through it and you have no choice but to say you like it. Otherwise, you have to deal with the fact that you just wasted weeks of you life,' A.J. had countered. 'Style, no substance, my friend.'"

That is exactly how I felt when I finished Infinite Jest. Well, I felt that it was an endurance contest; I had no problem saying I didn't like it, and freely admitted that I had just wasted fifty days of my life. When I finish Gravity's Rainbow, I think I'll freely admit I just wasted 110 days of my life. Hopefully only 110 anyway.

I am very curious to read reviews of this book when I am finished (I try not to read any reviews until I have finished the book). I can't really fathom what anybody would get out of this one, and of all the people who have told me they've read it (note: none of them actually finished it), they didn't get anything from it.

I now reluctantly return to reading.

1 comment:

  1. All I remember was the main character was Slothrop, but I don't think he showed up until halfway into the book, and out of place coprophagia, Oh, and you can't forget the giant, walking adenoid.