The Pale King

The Pale King By David Foster Wallace Michael Pietsch, The Pale King 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 repet
  • Title: The Pale King
  • Author: David Foster Wallace Michael Pietsch
  • ISBN: 9780316074223
  • Page: 353
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Pale King By David Foster Wallace Michael Pietsch, 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 momThe 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 By David Foster Wallace Michael Pietsch,
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    About "David Foster Wallace Michael Pietsch"

    1. David Foster Wallace Michael Pietsch

      David Foster Wallace worked surprising turns on nearly everything novels, journalism, vacation His life was an information hunt, collecting hows and whys I received 500,000 discrete bits of information today, he once said, of which maybe 25 are important My job is to make some sense of it He wanted to write stuff about what it feels like to live Instead of being a relief from what it feels like to live Readers curled up in the nooks and clearings of his style his comedy, his brilliance, his humaneness.His life was a map that ends at the wrong destination Wallace was an A student through high school, he played football, he played tennis, he wrote a philosophy thesis and a novel before he graduated from Amherst, he went to writing school, published the novel, made a city of squalling, bruising, kneecapping editors and writers fall moony eyed in love with him He published a thousand page novel, received the only award you get in the nation for being a genius, wrote essays providing the best feel anywhere of what it means to be alive in the contemporary world, accepted a special chair at California s Pomona College to teach writing, married, published another book and, last month Sept 2008 , hanged himself at age 46 excerpt from The Lost Years Last Days of David Foster Wallace by David Lipsky in Rolling Stone Magazine October 30, 2008.Among Wallace s honors were a Whiting Writers Award 1987 , a Lannan Literary Award 1996 , a Paris Review Aga Khan Prize for Fiction 1997 , a National Magazine Award 2001 , three O Henry Awards 1988, 1999, 2002 , and a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant.More thehowlingfantods dfw

    348 thoughts on “The Pale King”

    1. As most of the people in my corner of a corner of a corner of know just as well as they know about my rabid, undying affection for David Foster Wallace I tend to use Occam s razor to slash through supernaturalistic irrationality on a pretty regular basis Despite this reflexive skepticism, I couldn t help feeling like this book was somehow written for me while reading it Working the graveyard shift at a residential treatment facility for at risk youth the second such facility I d consecutively wo [...]


    2. THE MONEY I DID NOT WANT3 years ago I noticed mysterious amounts were appearing in my current account Regularly Every week They came from the tax office and they were tax credits I hadn t applied for any tax credits So I phoned them up They said We can t stop it unless we know what account these monies SHOULD be paid into and we won t know that until someone complains I said well, what are you going to do they said, we ll be in touch So last month I got a letter through the post saying oh, remem [...]


    3. The Pale King is a skyscraping achievement Separating Wallace s backstory from the novel might be impossible, but the edited text, however incomplete, astonishes The Pale King doesn t need a sympathy vote the book soars on its own merits.I should also point out that, after two attempts, I never finished Infinite Jest A couple years back I recommended IJ to my friend James because he plays tennis and I remembered something in that doorstop about a tennis camp James is still mad So I didn t approa [...]


    4. Qu raro se me hace el tener todo esto dentro y que para vosotros no sean m s que palabras.David Foster Wallace ya no se encuentra entre nosotros Las heridas todav a est n abiertas Solo nos queda su obra, las historias en las que se refugiaba y a su vez sangraba Es lo nico que nos mantiene en contacto con esa alma nacida en Ithaca pero que vivi siempre en el dolor Es duro hacer esta rese a No es una simple relato, es mucho m s No son p ginas, palabras y tinta Este libro es la herencia de un escri [...]


    5. I have been a little fascinated with David Foster Wallace since learning of his suicide on the blogosphere several years back I have already written a little bit about my reading of some of his work and just happened upon The Pale King in the CDG airport on the way to Berlin Perhaps it was just a funny twist of fate because the English book selection at Relais H in France tends to be something between the abysmal military fiction of Tom Clancy and the insipid modern novels pretending to be liter [...]


    6. What renders a truth meaningful, worthwhile, c is its relevance, which in turn requires extraordinary discernment and sensitivity to context, questions of value, and overall point otherwise we might as well all just be computers downloading raw data to one another.In the interest of full disclosure as a novel this work is not five stars As a collection of chapters, stories, asides and footnotes it is quite close to being five stars I have no idea how to review this I m than a little surprised a [...]


    7. Original review May 10, 2011100 Words in Search of a Precis For Those of Us Who Prefer the Short Form of Stimulation DFW is calling on us to become Heroes or Pale Kings There is something Proustian at work in The Pale King DFW isn t so much in search of lost time or even perceptions he is in search of a lost ability to perceive or to sense or to make things interesting In a time when there is so much boredom, DFW is offering us a way of seeing and engaging with the parts of the world within our [...]


    8. How odd I can have all this inside me and to you it s just words David Foster Wallace, The Pale King If a novel about IRS examiners in a Midwest Regional Examination Center seems like a bad pitch, and definitely a boring novel, you will have almost grasped about one half the magic of DFW This is absolutely a novel about boredom, tedium, loneliness, isolation, bureaucracy, melancholy, and depression Did I also mention this book is damn funny and absurd I giggled at parts I cried at parts I cried [...]


    9. Upon hearing that David Foster Wallace s unfinished last novel was going to be published, my first thought was, How do they know it wasn t done Because it s not like Infinite Jest was a model of story resolution My question was answered in the introduction of The Pale King by editor Michael Pietsch that gives a concise breakdown of what Wallace left behind and how he put it together He makes it very clear that this is not the book that Wallace was envisioning before his suicide As Pietsch explai [...]


    10. When someone says something is universal I don t always feel like it quite applies to me, or it is some big cliche to describe just what people are used to The big stuff like young love, birth, taking a crap, death Sure, that s all universal and it happens to everyone maybe not young love Still, I don t think it s a word that I hop to and use to describe stuff like we re all gonna nod and be in the know Yeah, I get that Now I say but damn if The Pale King didn t feel something like this universa [...]


    11. As good as all his other stuff No less finished seeming than anything else he ever did No plot, but thematic balls are always in the air and bouncing around, plus the prose is always so readable often easier, mature, steadier, less trying to impress than his earlier stuff Only had to look up two or three vocab words Awarded the fifth star to encourage the writer to one day finish it properly for now, this collection of 540 bound pages of DFW s writing, whether it s an unfinished novel, linked c [...]


    12. We fill pre existing forms and when we fill them we change them and are changed Frank Bidart, Borges and I The above epigraph to The Pale King is a pun but a sincere one The Forms view spoiler IRS Form 1040 US Individual Income Tax Return Form 1040 Schedule A Itemized Deductions Form 1040 Schedule B Interest and Dividend Income Form 1040 Schedule C Profit and Loss From a Business Form 1040 Schedule D Capital Gains and Losses Form 1040 Schedule E Supplemental Income and Loss Form 1040 Schedule EI [...]


    13. Well, wow What an epic, wondrous book I felt a breathless clarity, exhaustive elation, and all over giddiness reading The Pale King a feeling unsurpassed in the overlong Infinite Jest which could lose 300 pages easily , the often wilfully opaque stories in Oblivion, or the CPU on speed attack of his floating eye essays Might this have been or be the perfect distillation of all Foster Wallace s talents All his strengths are here, in full bloom his dizzying insights into the microbial subtleties o [...]


    14. As you know I have a lot of difficulty with DFW I find him difficult Also exasperating, brilliant, funny, also thinking he s funnier than he is, also no doubt a genius writer, all of that, and virtually impossible A difficult case So I came across a review of The Pale King in the Sunday Times by Theo Tait which explains the problem with DFW As the Sunday Times is part of the Evil Murdoch Empire and is no longer free online, I thought I would excerpt the best bits as a service I am happy to rende [...]


    15. B.I 04 11 Well, I was going to suppress the urge to do it this way, but it seemed fitting Not just in that meta gimmicky way, but like a sort of homage Because I genuinely do love the man and his writing, which is not the sort of sentiment that I usually feel toward most fiction writers that I admire Q Okay, maybe love isn t the right word More like a relatable connection Like listening to that Nine Inch Nails album With Teeth, and thinking about Reznor s substance abuse problem, and that partic [...]


    16. It was a strange experience reading The Pale King when set against that of Infinite Jest having entered into it with a degree of trepidation due to a combination of the novel s unfinished status, the advance warning I d received about Wallace s determined efforts to capture the essence of workplace tedium and graft it within the story s very being, and another cyclically harrowed state of mind it all made for a dispassionate progression At no time, as before, did I feel completely enrapt in what [...]


    17. The Human Heart is a Chump Cataloging The Pale King Jenn Shapland works in the Ransom Center and writes in The Millions about her experience cataloging The Pale King archival material themillions 2012 10 thThe final paragraph I don t know what people will find in these folders or how they ll choose to interpret this new installment to the record of Wallace s works What I m certain they will discover is that within the boxes, numbered 36 41, lies not a single unfinished work but an infinite web o [...]


    18. The Demon, Engulf d in Flames They were killing my friends Audie MurphyMy mother was t rapt in a maieutic conversation with a temporarily bankrupt friend, who has since again become a multi millionaire, whom my parents had allowed to crash at our house until he was able to get back on his feet, his having a penchant for starting from scratch, considering themselves to be to him beholden on account of his having provided my father with employment soon after the latter had immigrated to the United [...]


    19. well, first off, whew it has been entirely, inexplicably, unforgivably too long since i ve read a new book what the hell happened the end of 2011 was terribly shitty in pretty much every sense, and 2012 has been wholly consumed getting zee komputerkorp up off the ground i ve got a company that makes computersor a computer that makes companiesi forget the details so, what have we here chapter 46 s long paean to aspergery goodness could have been pretty much lifted from any number of conversations [...]


    20. The gods are jerks Dear gods, If I win the First Reads giveaway for this book, my entire life will have meaning Every book I ve ever read, and every review I ve ever written, will have led me to this crowning moment I ve even created a new shelf just for The Pale King to read immediately I promise to neglect every other aspect of my life, including my dog and my boyfriend and my work, to read this when it comesEASE GIVE ME THIS BOOK PLEASE Sincerely yours,oriana




    21. So as you all know, Wallace s writing style is highly contagious thus, I will push back against the marriage of breezy witticism and Wikipedic knowledge that is Wallace s distinctive style I began The Pale King with an odd feeling of elation mixed with bittersweet bemoanment I had waited for years for a new DFW novel And while I love his non fiction as much as the next guy, the non fiction stuff seemed like buying a ticket to be inside Wallace s brain as he did typically middle American activiti [...]


    22. This could ve, had Wallace lived to see it through, exceeded even Infinite Jest Yes, IJ is my favorite novel, and it s hard for me to imagine anything topping that, but the potential was here See, for all of DFW s second novel s many virtues, it s a very self conscious novel You can tell that Wallace wanted it to be an encyclopedic account of human existence, and while 1,079 pages is a lot, I don t think it s enough to do what Wallace wanted to do He wanted to make literary history with it, want [...]


    23. RIP David Foster Wallace It is so fucking weird that they released your book about the IRS on April 15th that I can hardly stand to write about it So I made this picture instead.


    24. I m about a hundred pages in and this book is enthralling and gleamingly not forbiddingly complex I love DFW profoundly, he s one of the writers I turn to for the usual reasons one turns to favorite personal writers There s insight, wit, beauty, power, depth, irony, verisimilitude, all of that stuff but also a strange sort of love I don t mean this in an Oprah way or even agape but this kind of benevolence.The world is an often ugly, unfair, crude and fucked up place perhaps often than not One [...]


    25. I ve spend many, many hours arguing about mostly against DFW s merits and place in literature since reading Infinite Jest, way back in 1999 on vacation in Spain toting the gigantic English paperback edition around from hostel to hostel, taking it on buses and trains through Andalucia, having bought it on the insistent and frenzied recommendation of my dear friend, Scott A challenging book, annoyingly demanding the use of two bookmarks, and endless flipping from the chapter to the endnotes Not th [...]


    26. Sezionando l accidia fino all ultimo nervo L ultima prova di DFW la pi ambiziosa la sfida mettere al centro delle pagine la condizione umana meno attraente e interessanta la noia, il tedio, l ennui, la perdita di spinta vitale connessa alla monotonia e alla ripetitivit E a questo fine lo scrittore investe dieci anni della sua vita gli ultimi dieci anni, in triste retrospettiva , creando il contesto fisico, temporale e direi, quasi filosofica per affrontare questo tema la sede dell IRS Internal R [...]


    27. David Foster Wallace takes on the central problem of our times The book can be neatly summed up in section 45, that is pages 439 440 and ends with the sentence If you are immune to boredom there is literally nothing you can t accomplish Pale King is therefore a perfect complement or maybe the development of the idea of infinite jest the desperate need to be entertained , by presenting that imperative s underlying cause rather the way the ability to breathe and pump blood underlies all thought an [...]


    28. The potential scope of this novel is impressive It being unfinished, of course, means that this scope is never fully realized What we are left with is a skeleton assembled by Wallace s editor and hung with bits of flesh and muscle A few blood vessels thread their way through In nonfigurative terms it s a series of character studies and vignettes, some quite dense and others fleeting What we don t see is how these pieces would have been shaped and fitted together, what would have been cut, what w [...]


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