I don’t believe I’ve ever finished reading a literary novel. (Unless Chuck Palahniuk counts. I read Choke and was disturbed for days after. What a messed up man. The character, I mean. I think I mean, anyhow.)
I read and write commercial women’s fiction. I look for strong characters with a clear goal and clear obstacles preventing them from reaching that goal. I want to know, when I’m done reading a book, what happened and why; I’m not a fan of “um, WHAT?” endings. Beautiful turns of phrase do impress me, but I read more for the story than for the writing itself. From what I know of literary fiction (which, admittedly, would fit into an eggcup while still leaving room for a smallish egg), story is secondary to language. This makes me nervous about my ability to finish Infinite Jest with at least some level of enjoyment.
But I will finish it, or else I will a) feel like a failure, b) get kicked out of this blog, c) have wasted the money and space it took to put the book on my Palm Treo where I do 95% of my reading these days, and d) always wonder what the book’s really about.
From the sounds of it, I might still not know what it’s about after I’ve read it, but I will deal with that when I get there.
Today is the first day of Infinite Summer. In the immortal words of Bender from Futurama, “Into the breach, meatbags!”