From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Infinite Jest (1996) is a novel written by David Foster Wallace. This lengthy and complex work takes place in a semi-parodic future version of North America. The novel touches on the topics of tennis; substance addiction and recovery programs; depression; child abuse; family relationships; advertising and popular entertainment; film theory; and Quebec separatism.
- There are frequent references to endnotes throughout the novel. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Wallace characterized their use as a method of disrupting the linearity of the text while maintaining some sense of narrative cohesion. The use of elements may also reflect the similar inclusion of footnotes in the films of J. O. Incandenza within the novel.
- Acronyms are another signature device in Wallace's work and are used frequently within the novel.
- Wallace's writing voice is a postmodern mixture of high- and low-brow linguistic traits. He juxtaposes, often within a single sentence, colloquialisms and polysyllabic, highly esoteric words.