The Pale King

The Pale King

Summary

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.

Reviews

  • One of the strangest, saddest, most haunting things I've ever read
    Guardian

About the author

David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace, who died in 2008, was the author of the acclaimed novels Infinite Jest and The Broom of the System. His final novel, The Pale King, was published posthumously in 2011. He is also the author of the short-story collections Oblivion, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and Girl with Curious Hair, and his non-fiction includes several essay collections and the full-length work Everything and More.
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