The Pale King
David Foster Wallace
The Pale King is David Foster Wallace’s final novel – a testament to his enduring brilliance
The Internal Revenue Service Regional Examination Centre in Peoria, Illinois, 1985. Here the minutaie of a million daily lives are totted up, audited and accounted for. Here the workers fight a never-ending war against the urgency of their own boredom. Here then, squeezed between the trivial and the quotidian, lies all human life. And this is David Foster Wallace’s towering, brilliant, hilarious and deeply moving final novel.
‘Breathtakingly brilliant, funny, maddening and elegiac’ New York Times
‘A bravura performance worthy of Woolf or Joyce. Wallace’s finest work as a novelist’ Time
‘Light-years beyond Infinite Jest. Wallace’s reputation will only grow, and like one of the broken columns beloved of Romantic painters, The Pale King will stand, complete in its incompleteness, as his most substantial fictional achievement’ Hari Kunzru, Financial Times
‘A paradise of language and intelligence’ The Times
‘Archly brilliant’ Metro
‘Teems with erudition and ideas, with passages of stylistic audacity, with great cheerful thrown-out gags, goofy puns and moments of truly arresting clarity. Innovative, penetrating, forcefully intelligent fiction like Wallace’s arrives once in a generation, if that’ Daily Telegraph
‘In a different dimension to the tepid vapidities that pass as novels these days. Sentence for sentence, almost word for word, Wallace could out-write any of his peers’ Scotland on Sunday
David Foster Wallace wrote the novels Infinite Jest and The Broom of the System, and the short-story collections Oblivion, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and Girl with Curious Hair. His non-fiction includes Consider the Lobster, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, Everything and More, This is Water and Both Flesh and Not. He died in 2008.
Everyone who cares about literature should buy it * The Age * Remarkable -- Jonathan Derbyshire * New Statesman * The Pale King gave me a pleasure and excitement that I can describe only as biological. That is to say, the book produced in me that very rare, warm, head-to-toe tingling that comes with admission to a paradise of language and intelligence -- Joseph O' Neill * The Times * Sometimes as a critic the most important part of your job is to say: here, this is it, we've found it, someone's doing it. That someone was Wallace. He was the real thing * Evening Standard * The Pale King contains what's sure to be some of the finest fiction of the year . . . he was the closest thing we had to a recording angel * GQ * A transfixing and hyper-literate descent into relentless, inescapable despair . . . achingly funny, nothing short of sublime * Publishers Weekly * Rich and substantial and alive . . . Wallace's finest work as a novelist * Time * In a different dimension to the tepid vapidities that pass as novels these days. Sentence for sentence, almost word for word, Wallace could out-write any of his peers * Scotland on Sunday * Innovative, penetrating, forcefully intelligent fiction like Wallace's arrives once in a generation, if that * Daily Telegraph * Breathtakingly brilliant, funny, maddening and elegiac * The New York Times * One of the strangest, saddest, most haunting things I've ever read * Guardian *
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