"Infinite Jest: Reviews, Articles, and Miscellany"



QPB Talks to David Foster Wallace

QPB Review, Sept. 1996


QPB: I was wondering if you had a particular type of reader in mind when you wrote "Infinite Jest."

WALLACE: I wanted the book to sound intimate and conversational, as if somebody was talking right to you. So I think there was a kind of ghost reader for me all the way along. Being -- like everybody else, I think -- basically a narcissist, I imagine my reader as being somewhat like me: somebody probably between 25 and 45, with too much education, who's sort of puzzled and confused and overwhelmed, and has a pretty good antenna for a lot of the stuff that's floating around in the culture but not really much training in how to derive any sort of meaning out of it.

QPB: How important is living where you do to the book and the way you see the country?

WALLACE: Well, I've lived in a lot of different places. When I was working on this book I was living in Boston and Syracuse. Now I live in a tiny town in the Midwest.

I think one of the things about American culture is that it really doesn't matter too much where you live. All you need is an antenna and a modem, and you're pretty much in the mainstream.

QPB: You don't see any difference between Boston and where you live now?

WALLACE: I think where I live now is three or four years behind the East Coast curve in terms of what's hip and what's cool, but it's just as much in the thrall of hipness hipness and coolness. People here spend as much time worrying about what attitude they project and being nervous about getting laid.


---David Stanton, Senior Copywriter.