Thursday, June 9, 2016

Infinite Jest: Pages 3-17: Hal's Meltdown

Infinite Jest: Notes from Pages 3-17 

Hal's meltdown. Told in Hal's first person narrative.

Note that page 3 in the 20th anniversary paperback is actually the first page of the novel. The first phrase that grabbed my attention occurs on the first page.

"... the impermanent quality of something stamped into uncooperative material ..." (p3)

I love the idea of "uncooperative material," as if "material" had a will, as if inanimate objects have preferences or manifest purposeful resistance. And then there are these gems:

The familiar panic at feeling misrepresented ... (p8)
Jet contrail

... the defecatory posture of all athletes at rest ... (p9)

The blue sky is glassy and fat with heat ... (p15)

The jet's movement and trail seem incisionish, as if white meat behind the blue were being exposed and widening in the wake of the blade. (p16)

Infinite Vocab

IJ is a vast trove of quirky words and curious references. Keeping a dictionary handy helps the reading experience.

Kekulean Knot (p6) - a sideways reference to Friedrich August Kekule.

Brewster's Angle (p10)

presybyopic (p11) - a vision condition that develops around the age of 40 when people experience blurred near vision when reading, sewing, using the computer, etc.

creatus (p12)

enfilade (p13) - a volley of gunfire directed a long a line from one end to the other; or, architecturally, a suite of rooms with doorways in line with each other.

hypophalangial (p16) - missing one or more phalanges from fingers or toes

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