Week Two – Pages 63-137 (endnotes 23-48)
More than a few people I have spoken to put IJ down around 100 pages in. So we have just passed through a place where there can be a certain level of attrition. I can understand why, comparing the first week’s reading to this week’s. We have our first giant endnote (the filmography, and maybe endnote 304) and a few really long sections that don’t seem to further the ‘story’ in a way that the rapid-fire sections we have read earlier do.
I see many core examples of how DFW weaves information through seemingly unconnected narratives. I’ll recap what we’ve read and let’s start talking about it!
The majority (all?) of this section occurs during the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment, in April (Marathe and Steeply) and November (most of all of the rest, except the segment of Mario and the telescope which happens in October). We know James Incandenza dies in the Year of the Trial Sized Dove Bar at age 54 (if we ever find out his birth year, we can place subsidized time on our calendar).
We get a detailed list of James’ filmography, in which is nested a significant amount of information about what has happened during subsidized time. It’s our first introduction to feral hamsters, outsized feral infants, the elimination of Troy, NY due to misplaced waste displacement vehicles, etc.
The filmography also includes familiar subjects: It Was a Great Marvel That He Was in the Father Without Knowing Him is about the ‘professional conversation’ and Widower is about a father with serious spider issues – leading me to assume more of the films will also have a ‘real life’ counterpart.
Orin is playing professional football as a punter in Arizona, has met someone and wants to talk about Canadian separatism.
We meet Kate Gompert, whose addiction to weed mirrors that of Erdedy’s in its intensity, and Hal’s in its secrecy. She also buys from Tommy Doocey. I was interested in how she described the ‘feeling.’
The cartridge that took the attache is now responsible for upwards of 20 catatonic states.
A LOT of Enfield in these sections, getting a better understanding of Pemulis (drug aficionado), Schtitt, Mario, Troletsch, Struck, Millicent Kent, John Wayne, plus weird Lyle.
Our first Ennett House resident (though Ennett house is still unnamed here – Unit #6) – Little Burl Ives, Tiny Ewell.
The beginning of the Marathe/Steeply section of the book. A LOT of info is laid out here about the “entertainment” Canada/US relations, indications that Marathe’s wife is very very ill, the descriptions of Steeply’s disguise, the almost impossible (for me) to keep track of duplicity that is going on as agents, and the description of the environmental impact of annular fusion being “a drooling and piss-colored bank of teratogenic Concavity clouds”
A wonderful section by ‘yrstruly’ describing a drug run gone bad.
Now what are we supposed to do with endnote 304? There are two endnotes in this section that point to it (39b. and 45). So you flip to 304, and find out its 7 goddamn pages long. Is it meant to be read now? Then why have it as endnote 304, not 39b? Did you read it?
Also, what is your favourite James Incandenza film? (this is a link the filmography online on a very cool website of IJ related stuff..)