When David Foster Wallace committed suicide in September 2008, he left behind the manuscript for The Pale King, an unfinished novel he started researching back in 1997, not long after the publication of Infinite Jest. The Pale King was finally published this past Friday (April 15), a date that was hardly arbitrary. Offering a lengthy meditation on boredom, The Pale King is set in a Midwestern I.R.S. office. And what was April 15th? The day when Americans traditionally file their taxes (although they have until the 18th this year).
The posthumous novel came together with the help of Wallace’s longtime editor, Michael Pietsch, who spent two years working through heaps of pages left in bins, drawers and wire baskets, hoping to turn this mass of material into the most complete novel possible. The interview with Pietsch above, along with this short piece in The New York Times, brings you inside the editing/making of The Pale King, which has already received some favorable reviews.
If you’re looking to get your hands on the book, give this some thought: If you register for a 14-day free trial with Audible.com, you can download pretty much any audio book in Audible’s catalogue for free. And that catalogue now includes The Pale King. Once the trial is over, you can continue your Audible subscription (as I did), or cancel it, and still keep the free book. The choice is yours…
Has anyone here tried Audible? I’ve heard good things.