For the past week or so I’ve been digging steadily deeper into the inimitable David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. I know, I know, last summer was the so-called Infinite Summer, but I missed out on that because I was recovering from wisdom tooth extraction and therefore reading something much lighter on the brain.
However, despite all this, I can’t help but feel that IJ is a bit overrated. And by a bit, I mean a lot. Seriously. It’s far from DFW’s masterpiece — that spot, I would wager, is reserved for his never-for-legal-reasons-officially-published piece of Harry Potter ‘slash’ fanfiction, “Brief Interludes with Invidious Muggles (Draco/Harry, mm, teen, rom, dub!con)”. For those of you unaware, slash fiction refers to fanfiction written for the purposes of tossing male characters who are either enemies or serious bromantic partners into sexual relationships. Yes, it sounds low-brow, it sounds tacky, it sounds terrible, I admit! But in the meager 100,000 words and 85 footnotes of BIw/IM, DFW manages to say everything he had to say in Infinite Jest and more, in addition to shedding new light on the intricacies of one of the greatest fantasy series of all time. To prove it to you, reader, I provide here an excerpt of a single sentence from this magnum opus. Enjoy.
Desperately Draco pulls Harry to him, and their boyish lips and surprisingly rough tongues — like a group of old friends, like army buddies who haven’t seen each other in a while, presuming these old army buddies are covered in papillae and maybe suffer from a condition that causes them to sweat constantly, thus explaining the saliva, and maybe like maybe one of them wears spearmint aftershave or something — these theoretical guys, they embrace in the same way Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter’s mouths lock into a passionate and, once the gestalt of the whole thing sets in for the kids, emotional oral bear-hug, Harry’s gold-flecked green eyes widening in surprise, his pale hands, Harry P.’s pale hands, scrabbling for purchase outside the vicinity of his (Draco’s) shimmering silk Slytherin robes, which are honestly and awkwardly the closest things within reach at the moment, and if you think old D.M.’s not realized there’s nothing but his lonesome self within reach for H.P. to grasp then you certainly are not an astute judge of character, no sir.