I’m beginning to see why this book is so difficult to walk away from. It appears that part of Wallace’s plan is to leave you in the lurch at the end; he writes the book in such a way that you think, with just enough attention and dedication, you can figure everything out. Apparently, figuring out the book conclusively is not really possible, but Wallace (who on many occasions has said he takes pleasure in being a little malicious–in good humor, of course–with his readers) must have got a kick out of writing such a compelling, incredibly long work, only to leave you just inches from putting it all together. (This would be a rather poor joke except that it gets precisely to the points Wallace is trying to make.)
It’s probably no coincidence that Wallace, as a writer, shares so many traits with his filmmaker/avatar/character, James Orin Incandenza, who made many films designed to trick and dismay his audience.