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The Pale King
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The Pale King (Paperback)
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"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.

Fiction & Poetry >> Modern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd Publication Date: 05/04/2012 ISBN-13: 9780141046730  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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The first great novel of the 21st century uses the sinister beauty of the American Tax Code as a springboard from which to launch into a genuinely serious discussion of the origins and importance of civic responsibility amidst the hazy, blurred stupidity of a country in quick decline. Contrary to many reviews, I don't think it's about boredom, and it's certainly not boring. Another posthumous editor-to-manuscript resuscitation, the book hangs heavy with the clotted spectre of Wallace's suicide, which makes the writing glow all the more painfully through it.

Chris  Ware - 02/10/2012

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