Friday, February 15, 2008

Tennis, anyone?

NOW READING: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Those of you who have not read it may not know that Infinite Jest is largely about tennis. Much of the action ("action") takes place at a tennis academy boarding high school in the Boston area. So in reading the book, you actually get to read a lot about tennis as well. But it's not, like, breathtaking accounts of tennis matches. (Are those even possible? I may be cynical, but tennis is seriously up there on my list of sports that are FAR more fun to play than to watch. Maybe just behind golf and bowling.) Instead this book is a lot of description of what daily life would be like for these hard-core tennis teenagers among themselves.

This life generally involves the usual mixed emotions that come with being really successful at something, the struggles and pressure that come with being really successful at something, and the things all teens do to thwart authority figures whom they also follow in many ways. The book also contemplates the deeper meanings of competition, success, and what one does with one's life. Much of this is seen through the prism of the game of tennis, and a lot of it (at least in these first three hundred pages) subtly contrasts these tennis phenoms with the drug addicts, corrupt political types, pretentious arty/film types, and random weirdos that fill out the lesser ranks of life. So far, no pronouncements on who, if anyone, actually will be deemed in the end to have their shit together.

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