5 Minute Book Review (Part 4): Infinite Jest
July 9, 2009 in 5 Minute Book Review
Though double majoring in English and philosophy, his studies had a focus on mathematics and logic. DFW was a mathematical genius. I think he saw the beauty in the predictability and the unpredictable in math; he liked the rules and the broken rules. Truly dichotomous.
Infinite Jest, per DFW, is built around a Sierpinski Triangle, i.e. it is a mathematically generated pattern that can be reproducible at any magnification or reduction. His analog comparing the microcosm of what occurs at Enfield Tennis Academy and Ennet House, viz. heartbreak, jubilation, struggle, strife, pain and addiction, is extrapolated very clearly.
The Sierpinski triangle, also called the Sierpinski gasket or the Sierpinski Sieve, is a fractal named after the Polish mathematician Wacław Sierpiński who described it in 1915.
It is said that Infinite Jest was written in such a way that if you started on page 500 and read until the end, starting over at page 1, the book would still make sense. I’m not brave enough to try to read it that way (yet), but maybe someday.