The Next Chapter·Bedside Books

Why Grant Davidson found David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest challenging, but rewarding

The folk singer points out the finer details in David Foster Wallace’s writing.
Folk vocalist Grant Davidson recommends David Foster Wallace's postmodern novel Infinite Jest. (Christopher Dyck/Little, Brown)

Manitoba folk singer Grant Davidson records under the name Slow Leaves. His album Enough About Me reflects on the uncertainties of life through carefully-crafted lyrics. 

The singer-songwriter considers the merits of David Foster Wallace's novel Infinite Jest with the same attention. Here's what he has to say about Wallace's work.

Struggling to keep up

"The book I am currently reading, or working on because it sometimes feels like work, is Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. It's got a complex plot of two storylines that follows several characters. One storyline follows a family of exceptional and eccentric people involved in a tennis academy. The other follows a Boston AA facility down the hill from the tennis academy. The story takes place in the not-too-distant future where Mexico, Canada and the U.S. have united under one organization." 

A challenging epic

"Infinite Jest is equal parts fascinating, brilliant, funny, excruciating and epic. What I love about its writing is that Wallace goes deep into whatever he's exploring — drug addiction, elite tennis culture — it's the kind of book that you need a few bookmarks going. But it's so rewarding because you feel you're gaining insight into a brilliant mind."

Grant Davidson's comments have been edited and condensed.

Listen to Enough About Me by Slow Leaves: