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The Pale King by David Foster Wallace

The Pale King (edition 2011)

by David Foster Wallace

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1,411345,365 (3.89)68
Title:The Pale King
Authors:David Foster Wallace
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2011), Hardcover, 560 pages
Collections:Currently reading

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The Pale King by David Foster Wallace



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I'm not entirely sure how he did it, but Wallace created a collage of beautifully banal bureaucracy and the repulsing, strangely intriguing characters that make up the world.

It's definitely a little strange to read about a fictionalized version of my hometown (Peoria, IL). There were bits of fact (Bradley University and Zeller) mixed in with a lot of fiction (Self-Storage Parkway, Carousel Mall, the main industries in town).

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2015 | Task 43: Takes place in your hometown ( )
  Bodagirl | Dec 16, 2015 |
I don't know how I feel about this book. It was mind numbingly, dull but thats also kind of the point of the book. So i hate it for being so fucking boring, but the author did a good job for what he set out for it to be, a long, drawn out and mundane tale of IRS workers. It does provoke some deep thoughts about life in general, but its still painfully dull, but it is also unfinished so maybe if it was completed the payoff from the book would of felt better. ( )
  GrlIntrrptdRdng | May 14, 2015 |
Moments of great insight and expressions around boredom and attention. But as a novel it was just too unfinished. ( )
1 vote DavidCLDriedger | Apr 22, 2015 |
Still reading. Saw that I started in April? I pick it up, I put it down. I read something else, or several something elses. Then I return. But it seems to me this has always been my process with David Foster Wallace. Is there any other way to read him, really?

August 13th. Finally done!
1 vote KelAppNic | Feb 14, 2015 |
Macche'. Non riesco a farmelo piacere fino in fondo. Poi, arrivato a pag 400 bisogna finirlo. Non e' un romanzo, ma un insieme di capitoli. E per fortuna, che ogni tanto ci si riposa e arriva il capitoletto da 4 pagine. Sono stato entusiasta di altri testi di DFW, ma tra questo e Infinite Jest (vedi rec) non saprei dire quale e' il piu' inutile, per me.
In una pagina (figurati se mi ricordo quale) di questo c'e' un appunto di DFW dove fa dire ad qualcuno che (grossomodo) un tizio potrebbe anche essere bravissimo a raccontare ogni filo d'erba di un campo sconfinato, con ricchezza, attenzione e acume.
Ma, a chi interessa?
Quindi riprendo questa affermazione e la faccio mia.

Qui ci sono, nascoste tra pagine e pagine e pagine di esercizi di Czerny, alcune fughe di Bach. Quelle sono commoventi e vere: il resto e' meno. Il capitolo 46 è una grande, grandissima partitura. ( )
  bobparr | Dec 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Unfinished or no, it’s worth reading this long, partly shaped novel just to get at its best moments, and to ponder what Wallace, that excellent writer, would have done with the book had he had time to finish it himself.
added by Shortride | editKirkus Reviews (Apr 1, 2011)
'By turns breathtakingly brilliant and stupefying dull — funny, maddening and elegiac — “The Pale King” will be minutely examined by longtime fans for the reflexive light it sheds on Wallace’s oeuvre and his life.'
added by GYKM | editNew York Times, Machiko Kakutani (Mar 31, 2011)

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Foster Wallaceprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pietsch, MichaelEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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We fill pre-existing forms and when we fill them we change them and are changed. - Frank Bidart, Borges and I
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Past the flannel plains and blacktop graphs and skylines of canted rust, and past the tobacco-brown river overhung with weeping trees and coins of sunlight through them on the water downriver, to the place beyond the windbreak, where untilled fields simmer shrilly in the A.M. heat: shattercane, lamb's-quarter, cutgrass, sawbrier, nut-grass, jimsonweed, wild mint, dandelion, foxtail, muscadine, spine-cabbage, goldenrod, creeping charlie, butter-print, nightshade, ragweed, wild oat, vetch, butcher grass, invaginate volunteer beans, all heads gently nodding in the morning breeze like a mother's soft hand on your cheek.
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Le roi pâle est le plus beau roman de D.F Wallace .
"Profondément triste , profondément philosophique , à couper le souffle..." New York Times
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316074233, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:32 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The character David Foster Wallace is introduced to the banal world of the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Illinois, and the host of strange people who work there, in a novel that was unfinished at the time of the author's death.

(summary from another edition)

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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