Prolix: tediously prolonged; wordy, or tending to speak or write at excessive length. Antonym: concise.
I'm on page 198 of Infinite Jest, and while I'm thoroughly enjoying myself, I must say that David Foster Wallace asks a lot of a reader. You actually must pay attention, read slowly, and use all of your vocabulary -- and then some. I've used www.dictionary.com to look up palaver and apotheosizing and, ironically, prolix. I'm not finding it to be excessively wordy or tedious; it's highly amusing and he has a real knack for capturing different voices and small moments that feel genuine -- but he does use a LOT of words. David Foster Wallace is the anti-Hemingway. Antonym: concise.
Here's his description of an FM radio show on M.I.T.'s station, "WYYY 109, Largest Whole Prime On The FM Band." [Although I want to ask some radio geek whether the FM broadcast band really goes all the way up to 109?]
Albeit literally sophomoric, "Those Were the Legends..." is a useful drama-therapy-type catharsis-op --- M.I.T. students tend to carry their own special psychic scars: nerd, geek, dweeb, wonk, fag, wienie, four-eyes, spazola, limp-dick, needle-dick, dickless, dick-nose, pencil neck; getting your violin or laptop TP or entomologist's kill-jar broken over your large head by thick-necked kids on the playground -- and the show pulls down solid FM ratings, though a lot of that's due to reverse-inertia, a Newton's-II-like backward shove from the rabidly popular Madame Psychosis Hour, M-F 0000h.-0100h., which it precedes. (p. 182)
And a juicy tidbit from the almost 100 pages of end notes:
57. Ingesters' accounts of the temporal-perception consequences of DMZ in the literature are, as far as Pemulis is concerned, vague and inelegant and more like mystical in the Tibetan-Dead-Book vein than rigorous or referentially clear; one account Pemulis doesn't completely get but can at least get the neuro-titillating gist of is one monograph's toss-off quote from an Italian lithographer who'd ingested DMZ once and made a lithograph comparing himself on DMZ to a piece of like Futurist sculpture, plowing at high knottage through time itself, kinetic even in stasis, plowing temporally ahead, with time coming off him like water in sprays and wakes. (p. 996)
And a small jewel of a sentence: "He had never been so anxious for the arrival of a woman he did not want to see." (p. 23)
And let's not forget the herds of feral hamsters rampaging through the desert outside of Tucson (p. 93, and likely more to come since I'm only on page 198). This struck a personal chord with me because one of my numerous and varied types of childhood rodents was a mouse named Farrell; named both as a play on "feral" and as an homage to Suzanne Farrell, prima ballerina of the New York City Ballet and Balanchine muse. I like lemmings and capybara and pika and appreciate a writer who has the good sense to include hamsters in his sometime-in-the-alarmingly-near-future world.
Some of the things that other people say about Infinite Jest and one of his other books, Oblivion, and what he says himself corroborates my sense that he's asking readers to dig deep and engage, and I'm happy to do so. I'm going to keep reading along -- only 800 more pages to go..