The "dazzling, exhilarating" (San Francisco Chronicle) debut novel from the best-selling author of Infinite Jest, available for the first time as an audiobook....
In the stories that make up Oblivion, David Foster Wallace joins the rawest, most naked humanity with the infinite involutions of self-consciousness - a combination that is dazzlingly, uniquely his....
David Foster Wallace was one of the most talented and original young writers in recent American history, and Girl with Curious Hair displays the full range of his gifts...
David Foster Wallace made an art of taking readers into places no other writer even gets near....
Do lobsters feel pain? Did Franz Kafka have a funny bone? David Foster Wallace answers these questions and more in essays that are also enthralling narrative adventures....
David Foster Wallace brings to nonfiction the same curiosity, hilarity, and exhilarating verbal facility that has delighted readers of his fiction, including the best-selling Infinite Jest....
A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction....
This volume presents David Foster Wallace most dazzling, funniest, and most heartbreaking work....
Its sprawling, encyclopedic narrative and penetrating analysis of the impact of technology on society make it an intellectual tour de force....
An indelible portrait of David Foster Wallace, by turns funny and inspiring, based on a five-day trip with award-winning writer David Lipsky during Wallace's Infinite Jest tour....
Collected here for the first time are the stories and speeches of David Foster Wallace as read by the author himself....
Beloved for his epic agony, brilliantly discerning eye, and hilarious and constantly self-questioning tone, David Foster Wallace was heralded by both critics and fans as the voice of a generation....
Only once did David Foster Wallace give a public talk on his views on life, during a commencement address given in 2005 at Kenyon College....
Exactingly faithful to the spirit and letter of the Flemish masters, Wyatt Gwyon produces uncannily accurate "originals" - pictures the painters themselves might have envied....
These are the endnotes to David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, a gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America....
Composed in the last years of Roberto Bolaño's life, 2666 was greeted across Europe and Latin America as his highest achievement....
This novel spans the period from 1893 to the years just after World War I - a time of corporate greed and evil in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred....
David Foster Wallace’s posthumously published The Pale King is a challenging listen. This is made explicit in the introduction from Wallace’s editor and friend, Michael Pietsch, who put the novel together from more than 1,000 pages left behind after Wallace’s suicide in 2008. The intricate, rambling novel is held together by five men including a character named David Wallace who work at an IRS processing center in Peoria, Illinois in the 1980s. There are forays into tax law, nearly rhapsodic tales of drug use, the ennui of working life, and copious footnotes that are a Wallace trademark.
Robert Petkoff is a reassuring presence as narrator of The Pale King, having voiced other Wallace novels. That history makes Petkoff adept at wrapping his tongue around the stream-of-consciousness writing and its varying moods and emotions. Petkoff has a casual, well-enunciated style that he can bend into arch sarcasm, deadpan humor, and even a robotic-sounding transcription machine. Wallace often breaks the narrative with asides, in this case with tax code information, and Petkoff drops his voice to indicate these pauses before picking up the main storyline again. When Wallace switches to first person, writing as his alter-ego, Petkoff gives him a looser, more energetic voice that one can imagine isn’t too far from the late author’s own.
The novel might be best summed up in a passage where Wallace describes the chronic worrier Claude Sylvanshine as he transfers to a new IRS office: “The whole thing presented such a cyclone of logistical problems and complexities, Sylvanshine was forced to do some thought-stopping merge his own awareness with the panoramic vista.” The Pale King is indeed a cyclone of complexities and might require multiple listens to absorb, but Petkoff is to be commended for diving in and bringing an extra layer of cohesion to an often-chaotic novel. Collin Kelley
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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
Tedium, trivia and selfconsciousness as the essence of life. Drinian, the android/alien IRS examiner, is one of the most mysterious and compelling literary creations since...oh, don't know, something in Pynchon back when he was hitting all the marks, as is the agent he understands/misunderstans so well. Unfinished, tragically, Imbued with the strangness of the really real, undeniably. Not right or fair in the least that an incredible writer like Wallace is dead. Damn! Damn! Damn!.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Ever struggle with tedium? Who hasn't? Did you know the word "boring" did not exist in the English language until the advent of the Machine Age? I did not, until this fact was revealed in the course of experiencing David Foster Wallace's final epic, The Pale King. This labor of love, painstakingly brought to life by the author's long-time editor Michael Pietsch when the work was left unfinished after Wallace's suicide in 2008, reveals the infinity underneath boredom. Wallace removes the lid from the gaping void that is always right there for those who dare to look. Clearly, he spent a lot of time looking down that hole, for better or for worse. -paragraph-
Wallace has the gift of being able to stop time. He dives deep down in a headfirst rush into a single moment, peeling back the layers of thought, memory, feeling, experience, sensation, and circumstance that overlay every simple act, until they all stand exposed and elucidated. Then, just as quickly, he yanks you back up to the surface, back to the mundane and ordinary, back to the normal, back to the squeak of the wheel in the document collector's cart in the IRS processing center where much of the "action" in the Pale King takes place. Sometimes you feel like a fish gasping for water in the naked sunlight. Sometimes you feel as though you've been given some tremendous gift, a gem of insight that will sustain you and nourish you for years. -paragraph-
The IRS? As subject matter for a novel? I cannot imagine anyone else who could pull this off. While the book is understandably ragged in many ways, Pietsch has made it hold together so that the undeniable voice of David Foster Wallace comes through loud and clear. The audiobook's narration is handled masterfully by Robert Petkoff. He lives inside the 200-word sentences, the parenthetical asides, the footnotes, and the flights of language that are Wallace's trademarks, making them real, accessible, and meaningful. -paragraph-
David Foster Wallace lives.
13 of 16 people found this review helpful
“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 and giggled at parts. There are books I love for their power. There are books I love for their art. Their are other books I love for their soul. I love this unfinished, rough and beautiful novel for everything.
16 of 20 people found this review helpful
Fascinating book and a pitch-perfect reading. I listened twice. Robert Petkoff's reading has both a flow and a level of detail that makes the book comprehensible and intriguing. I bought the hard copy and looking at it, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have made it through. This is a gem.
15 of 19 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up The Pale King in three words, what would they be?
Brilliant, excruciating minutia
What did you like best about this story?
What about Robert Petkoff???s performance did you like?
Flawless, clean narration
If you could rename The Pale King, what would you call it?
Bang Your Head Against The Wall
Any additional comments?
This is my first exposure to DFW and I loved it. Long stretches of the novel are tedious, yes, but there are sections - three come to mind - that are just breath-taking in skill, technique and story. As a commentary on life in general and the travesty of work could not be better. I came of age in the mid-1970's to mid-1980's where a good portion of the novel is based so was able to connect immediately there. <br /> <br />Oh, and a I dislike this new review system. I'm sure it passed all sorts of statistical analysis indicating it would improve responses, but it is really a dumbed-down drag.
15 of 20 people found this review helpful
This book is about many things: Its about tedium, attention span, its about the joy of focussing on a task. The agony of drifting focus.
I can see how these thoughts could be the meat of anybody that has to create for a living. In the IRS, he certainly found the best setting to talk about difficult tedious work requiring concentration.
It's like an ADD manifesto, and minefield all in one.
He describes the creative process or should I say the productive working process, his character's motivation and thought processes better than anything I have ever seen. I'm 70% so I don't know if he gets to put it all together at the end. But It is a really amazing Listen.
But I have to say, no Evelyn Wood would ever get me through this thing. Definitely an audible-only recommendation. If you really liked "but eventually you become yourself" you'll love this.
11 of 15 people found this review helpful
This is definitely an UNFINISHED novel. I imagine if DFW knew The Pale King would get published in its obvious infancy, he would have stuck around long enough to finish it or have taken it with him. That said, I'm really glad the publishers took the time and care to give us what they could. There is absolute brilliance in this book that can only make one wonder and fantasize about what the final finished product might have been. If you love and "understand" the author, get this book.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful
Loved it. Loved the idea of hiding in the details. Loved the prose. Loved the boredom. Loved the floating off the chair, the sweating, the page turning, the meditative breathing... Loved.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
If you’ve listened to books by David Foster Wallace before, how does this one compare?
It wouldn't really be fair to compare this to the author's other works as this s an incomplete manuscript pelvic by Walace's editor.
If this book were a movie would you go see it?
I could see it as a semi-episodic HBO series where the characters and stories are loosely related to one another.
Any additional comments?
The book is often meandering and sometimes disjointed but that is to be expected from an incomplete, unorganized, and "tornadic" (to borrow a phrase from the author) manuscript, such as The Pale King. I feel this an important work for fans of David Foster Wallace to read. However, don't go into thinking it's going to be the next Infinite Jest. Even if DFW had finished this book it would have been a completely different beast than his previous works. It is a study in boredom and the author does a spectacular job of exploring and examining that topic. He, at times, truly makes the reader/listener know what it feels like to work a tedious job, day after day.<br/><br/>The word is forever less with David Foster Wallace gone. He was an amazing, brilliant talent that will never be replicated. If only we could have seen where his genius would have gone. He will be missed.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Best American writer of late 20th, early 21st Century. This novel is a wonderful coda.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful