Update: Audio end notes are on the way.
I guess this is a first for me and I'll get straight to the point.
I can't recommend the purchase of the (what at first appears to be the amazing - I've heard good things about the audio, excellent vocal performance) audio book of Infinite Jest.
I received an email earlier today from a reader who had excitedly received their 'unabridged' audio book of Infinite Jest only to discover that in the 56 hours of recording none of the endnotes are part of the audio. Yes, a voice lets the listener know where endnotes appear, and a pdf (with a typo making it difficult to download if you purchased online... remove the space) is included, but seriously, no endnotes? At best this is misleading presenting it as unabridged. The endnotes are essential to the enjoyment and understanding of this novel. For those of us who have read it, there is much significant material missing if the endnotes are excluded.
Publishers note at the beginning (via a reader):"From time to time the listener will hear a female voice announce numbers. These refer to the novel's endnotes - a device well known to fans of 'Infinite Jest'. By turns descriptive and digressive, definitive and satiric, the notes are an important part of David Foster Wallace's work. Since we are unable to include them in this recording, we nevertheless wanted to acknowledge their existence and allow the serious student of the novel to follow along with the text, pausing and reading particular citations as they emerge. We hope that you find out approach helpful."
Okay, okay, so you can cross-reference the pdf... but I personally listen to audio books and podcasts while I am cycling to work every day. I was actually somewhat excited to be able to listen to this while commuting. But not now. I'm not going to have a print out of the endnotes on my handlebars. I'm not going to purchase this version, in this state.
You can find some explanation of why the endnotes are missing in this thread over at Goodreads (page 2 is particularly enlightening) because the voice actor, Sean Pratt chimes in with some explanation.
An audio book of Infinite Jest is not an audio book of Infinite Jest without audio endnotes.
I can't help but quote 'Rob' from over at goodreads, "That is like reading Finnegans Wake and not including the words that make no sense."
If you know what you are buying, an excellently produced and read audio version of Infinite Jest, without endnotes, and you still want it, then go for it. But I find it very hard to accept it is being marketed as unabridged.
Let's hope a version with the endnotes (that we can purchase) becomes available in the future, or that it is marketed more accurately as an abridged version of the novel.
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