Don’t you feel now that you’ve finished Infinite Jest that dropping the book, like dropping the mic, is appropriate, and makes a satisfying meaty thunking sound?
Oh few, happy few, we band of readers, we made it!
First, brief summeries:
pp 941-958 Hal in room while Mario and Coyle who is young watch a disturbing JOI film accomplice, in which we learn why Stokely McNair was nicknamed Darkstar, for his KS mark. We find why Troeltsch was coming out of Axford’s single–he switched rooms, I’m guessing because he ate cheese about Pemulis. Coyle is Stice’s roommate, and noticed that the furniture is indeed acting weird. Is it JOI as the wraith who claimed he couldn’t affect physical objects, but which the Coke can proved otherwise?
Hal notes that Otis P Lord had the monitor removed, presumably from the bed next to Don Gately which was getting the weird metal braces put on in pages 918-920. Hal remembers JOI’s advice to Orin about adult films, which is both touching about JOI and yet another log on my furiously flaming bonfire of hate for Orin, who next to Randy Lenz might be THE WORST. (Discuss).
Hal also knew, as he knew of the powdered milk, that CT and Wayne had both slept with Avril.
p 958 Joelle back to Ennet House and in future tense says hopes for quarantine, and will tell Pat about wheelchairs, presumably making connection with Marathe’s appearance and chat previously. Sees Middlesex County police, who probably are there for Don’s old suspended license infraction (463).
p 958-960 narrated by someone in a veil but maybe not Joelle? Someone named Mikey with a temper who talks about acting badly then going back to apologize
pp 960-964 ADA that Don fears meets with Pat, and talks about how he’s trying to make amends to Don and we learn how complicated things are for him, too. Unlike Mikey of the previous section, he can’t bring himself to apologize. Yet.
pp 964-971 Back to ETA but it’s anonymous first person, not Hal and we get the backstory of Barry Loach, and could we love Mario more?
Poutrincourt is missing–could that be her covered in snow in the stands? If not, who? WHO?
Reference to Brothers K who are perhaps analogs to the Incandenza Bros: Mario is like Alyosha, Hal the rationalist Ivan, and Orin the shitheel to women Dmitri.
pp 971-972 Orin’s uppance has come.
pp 972-981 Don at present is in fever and his tube is finally removed (it might have caused fever based on smug doc’s comment on p 921. He then regresses in time to finish the story about Gene Fackelmann, which was horrific, but was not even Don’s “bottom: that led to sobriety, which would taken even longer. Don is at a low point, but we know he rises from what went previously. The book finishes on the to-me Gatsby-ish:
it was raining out of a low sky, and the tide was way out. (981)
Heidi has already commented that she thinking poor dead DFW threw poor dead Linda McCartney under the bus in this section, but since it was the music chosed by soon to be poor dead but pretty non-likeable Bobby C, I don’t think it was an endorsement.
The book’s non-ending urges you to go back to the beginning and read again looking for details, looking for how to explain why a year later Hal and Gately along with John Wayne will be digging up JOI’s head, which is on both p 17 but also part of Gately’s fever dream about a sad kid on p. 934.
In describing JOI’s artistic intention on p 839:
His most serious was was: to entertain.”
In the commentary I’ve been reading, the excellent Elegant Complexity by Greg Carlisle, GC asks,
What could be more entertaining than a novel that espouses conversation and interchange about interesting questions that are difficult to answer definitively, thereby promoting the ongoing connection of the participants in those conversational interchanges? (479-480)
And but so: Congratulations. What did you think, and what questions linger?