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Thread: The Power Broker by Robert Caro and/or Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

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    Absent Minded quido8_5's Avatar
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    The Power Broker by Robert Caro and/or Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

    For some reason I decided to tackle both of these behemoths simultaneously. The Power Broker chronicles, with astonishing detail and staggering reporting, the rise and moral-decline of Robert Moses, arguably the most important New Yorker of the 20th century. It's more than a biography, it's also something like a blow-by-blow description of how power moves. It's unbelievable and have yet to find too many folks who have read it (not unreasonable, given it's 1000+ page length). If anyone is familiar with Caro's newer work-the trilogy on LBJ- I believe they have similarly beautiful prose for a non-fiction book. At this point, it's in contention with Solomon's Far from the Tree for my favorite non-fiction book. I'm about 1/3 of the way through and, by that point in Far from the Tree, my whole life had been reoriented as a result. We'll see if Caro can manage the life-changing impact of Solomon.

    Infinite Jest, meanwhile, is hardly user friendly but I'm finding myself loving it. The style can be tiresome; however, it's not that difficult to get acclimated to it and the style often allows for a type of leaping prose that is incredible to read. Most of all, when the book is on, it is on. Scenes that come to mind: Mario's script, chock full of lines like, "Try to learn to let what is unfair teach you" or [
    ], or anything with Don Gaitly. The chapter that has stuck with me and never let go, though, is Winter B.S. 1960 with it's alcohol drenched diction and brutal honesty.

    Just thought I throw it out there and see if any one had an opinion.

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    Scott of the Antarctic Milky Joe's Avatar
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    I haven't read TPB but I consider Infinite Jest to be *the* great 21st century novel (in English at any rate and yes, I know it was written in the early 1990s). It's astonishing in a way that very few books are. I draw a straight line from Joyce to Gaddis to Wallace in terms of the great 20th century writers.
    ‎The severed arm perfectly acquitted itself, because of the simplicity of its wishes and its total lack of doubt.

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    Absent Minded quido8_5's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Milky Joe (view post)
    I draw a straight line from Joyce to Gaddis to Wallace in terms of the great 20th century writers.
    I can see this, definitely. The prose is some of the most thrilling and brilliant I've read in a long time. It's so refreshing to have an author compared to Joyce that wasn't just aping Joyce's style. Wallace earns that comparison. We'll have to see how the next 600 pages go in order to compare it to "Portrait of an Artist" or "Ulysses". I haven't read any of his other works, but a good friend tells me that some of DFW's non-fiction is pretty brilliant.
    The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.
    - Camus

    Films
    Tess (Polanski, 1979): ***.5
    Love and Death (Allen, 1975): **.5
    Lord of the Flies (Brook, 1963): ***.5

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  4. #4
    Absent Minded quido8_5's Avatar
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    Ok, so I Identify with Don Gately's storyline, but damn if that section doesn't contain some of the most breathtaking prose of the decade.
    The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.
    - Camus

    Films
    Tess (Polanski, 1979): ***.5
    Love and Death (Allen, 1975): **.5
    Lord of the Flies (Brook, 1963): ***.5

    TV
    Brooklyn Nine Nine (Season 1): ***
    Olive Kitteridge (Mini-Series): ****

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