David Foster Wallace lives on for an “Infinite Summer”

From Salon:

Book There are many ways to cope with death, but founding an online book club is a pretty unique approach. “When I heard that David Foster Wallace had died, it was like remembering an assignment that had been due the day before,” said Matthew Baldwin. A blogger who regretted never having finished “Infinite Jest,” Baldwin founded InfiniteSummer.org, a Web site and collaborative reading experiment that creates a vast literary support group for completing the late author's 1,079-page tome over the course of this summer.

Published in 1996, “Infinite Jest” was David Foster Wallace's second, and ultimately final, completed novel, and has become known equally for its sprawling attention to detail, its near impenetrability and its effectiveness as a doorstop. Often compared to experimental fiction like “Ulysses” and “Naked Lunch,” its list of characters (and their fictional filmographies) alone may be longer than some entire novels. In the foreword to the paperback release, penned by Wallace's friend and contemporary Dave Eggers, he promises that the book isn't actually daunting, and that its author is indeed a “normal person.” But that's no consolation to the legions who have quit reading the book partway through. Baldwin admits that before he started the project, he had only read about 75 pages — but they'd stuck with him. “It sat in my library for so long that I no longer even saw it when I scanned the shelves,” he said. “But based on what little I had read, I knew for a fact that I would enjoy all 1,000 pages. I can't say that with such certainty for, say, 'Don Quixote.'”

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