Like getting strapped to a Raytheon missile and you don’t stop till that missile stops, Jim. – page 708
I took a short break from IJ last week to read and write about a short work of nonfiction, so this weekend’s been a bit of a marathon dive back into Wallace’s world, and what a whirlwind it’s been!
First of all, let me reiterate (assuming that I’ve already iterated) that, despite the fact that I’ve already read Infinite Jest, it was just once, and it was seven years ago. And when it comes to textual retention over time, I’m no Hal Incandenza. In fact, I’m pretty much the opposite, and as such, I am surprised at every turn.
Last week’s reading felt like Wallace shifted the novel into high gear. Marathe and Kate Gompert? Marathe at Ennet House?! Hal at Ennet House! Pemulis! Wayne! I think I just got strapped to that Raytheon missile, Jim.
The Return of Molly Notkin
I was entranced throughout the interview of Molly Notkin by Rod (the God) Tine, Jr. and all the revelations contained within it about J.O.I. and J.vD., Avril, and Orin, though it did feel a bit artificial. As though Wallace had suddenly glanced at his watch, though wow, look at the time, and decided he needed to crank out a bunch of exposition in a hurry.
Also, I’m not sure I’m buying the description of the Entertainment Notkin gives on page 788. First of all, I just don’t want to. The mystery as to the nature of the lethal Entertainment has been provocative throughout. What could it possibly be? And to have that answered with this sort of banal idea of Joelle, naked and pregnant, getting all Madame Psychosis in a death cosmology rant? Uh-uh. Not buying it. I’m sorry, but it’s just not lethally entertaining enough for me. So for now, I’ll choose to believe that either Joelle lied to Notkin, or that Notkin is lying to Tine.
But here are a couple of questions for you.
If I’m not mistaken, Notkin is the first to come right out and mention the possibility that Avril’s “sexual enmeshments with just about everything with a Y-chromosome” may have included her own son, Orin. Have we talked about this yet?
Because, while I was formerly of the C.T. as the father of Mario camp, there is the possibility that it could, in fact, be Orin. Speculate.
Question numero deux surrounds this bit from page 790:
“…the little rotter of a son’s despicable abandonment of the relationship under the excuse of accusing Madame Psychosis of being sexually enmeshed with their — here Molly Notkin said that she of course had meant to say his — father, the Auteur.”
Whaaa?? Their father? I mean, there’s no shortage of incestuous insinuations throughout Infinite Jest, but I’m having a hard time parsing the implications of J.O.I. being father to both Orin and Joelle. So why the apparent slip-up on Notkin’s part?