The Pale King

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Little, Brown, Apr 15, 2011 - Fiction - 592 pages
57 Reviews
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The "breathtakingly brilliant" novel by the author of Infinite Jest (New York Times) is a deeply compelling and satisfying story, as hilarious and fearless and original as anything Wallace ever wrote. 

The agents at the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Illinois, appear ordinary enough to newly arrived trainee David Foster Wallace. But as he immerses himself in a routine so tedious and repetitive that new employees receive boredom-survival training, he learns of the extraordinary variety of personalities drawn to this strange calling. And he has arrived at a moment when forces within the IRS are plotting to eliminate even what little humanity and dignity the work still has.

The Pale King remained unfinished at the time of David Foster Wallace's death, but it is a deeply compelling and satisfying novel, hilarious and fearless and as original as anything Wallace ever undertook. It grapples directly with ultimate questions -- questions of life's meaning and of the value of work and society -- through characters imagined with the interior force and generosity that were Wallace's unique gifts. Along the way it suggests a new idea of heroism and commands infinite respect for one of the most daring writers of our time.

"The Pale King is by turns funny, shrewd, suspenseful, piercing, smart, terrifying, and rousing." --Laura Miller, Salon
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - stephkaye - LibraryThing

Reading David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King Wallace fans owe a debt of gratitude to Michael Pietsch, the editor who assembled and posthumously published (at Little, Brown, and Co., in 2011) David ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - pivic - LibraryThing

Wallace had been mulling the possibilities for a third novel since the mid-1990s, even as he began the stories that would form the heart of Brief Interviews. The setting had come early, possibly even ... Read full review

All 13 reviews »

Contents

Chapter
44
Chapter
45
Welcome
50
Chapter 49
481
About the Author
516
Title Page
528
Chapter
1
Chapter
2

Chapter
3
Chapter
4
Chapter
5
Chapter
6
Chapter
7
Chapter
8
Chapter
9
Chapter
10
Chapter
11
Chapter 12
12
Chapter 13
13
Chapter 14
14
Chapter 15
15
Chapter 16
16
Chapter 17
17

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About the author (2011)

David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York, in 1962 and raised in Illinois, where he was a regionally ranked junior tennis player. He received bachelor of arts degrees in philosophy and English from Amherst College and wrote what would become his first novel, The Broom of the System, as his senior English thesis. He received a masters of fine arts from University of Arizona in 1987 and briefly pursued graduate work in philosophy at Harvard University. His second novel, Infinite Jest, was published in 1996.

Wallace taught creative writing at Emerson College, Illinois State University, and Pomona College, and published the story collections Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Oblivion, the essay collections A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, and Consider the Lobster. He was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and a Whiting Writers' Award, and was appointed to the Usage Panel for The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. He died in 2008. His last novel, The Pale King, was published in 2011.

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