Banal IRS accountants are made completely fascinating

Wallace's patented mixture of humour and curiosity exposes itself as sublime

The Pale King by David Foster Wallace hits bookstores April 15.

Imagine for a moment that you are a book publisher. You, more than anyone else, are attuned to a disturbingly consistent decline in book sales, and you, of course, are doing your best to reverse this negative trend. Imagine your top author proposes a novel with a cast primarily comprised of IRS accountants. He is adamant that there will be no significant scandals or drama involved in the work, just accountants performing repetitive, rote tasks. The novel’s main theme is boredom. Excited?

Thankfully, the folks at Little, Brown are excited as David Foster Wallace’s posthumous and tragically unfinished novel, The Pale King, hits bookstores on April 15.

The novel is justifiably one of the year’s most anticipated, as it contains some of Wallace’s finest writing — which says a lot considering his brilliant oeuvre which includes Infinite Jest, and essays such as “Ticket to the Fair.”

Set in the mid-’80s mid west, The Pale King follows the lives of several IRS agents, most of whom are social misfits.  Some of them deal with attacks of excessive perspiration, some are plagued with dermatological issues that verge on disfigurement, and all of them consistently struggle to maintain some semblance of sanity as they face hours upon hours of sensory deprivation at their nine-to five jobs.

And Wallace, with his patented mixture of humour and curiosity makes these characters completely fascinating. We are lucky enough to look on as the banal, under Wallace’s probing gaze, exposes itself as sublime.

 

Publisher: Little, Brown And Company

Price: $29.99

ISBN: 9780316074230

Page count: 560 Pages

Released: April 15, 2011

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver Island dance classes billed as female empowerment tool

New Comox Valley business focuses on ‘promoting positive body image’

Duncan’s Big Stick lights up red to signal COVID’s devastation of the arts

“COVID-19 has been truly devastating to the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre”

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cowichan Performing Arts Centre streaming new short film tonight

Standing By has been created and performed by Cowichan-raised actor Nicole Ratjen.

Voting now ready for Oak Bay’s Arts Alive 2020 sculptures

Audio and written descriptions posted for all 10 sculptures

Snuneymuxw artist brings aquatic designs to Nanaimo’s Beban Park pool

Work by artist Eliot White-Hill is being installed at the pool this month

Nanaimo musician plays all instruments on DIY debut album

Jamie Penner releasing guitar-centric instrumental record ‘Out of Curiosity’

Hospice worker and patient butt heads in upcoming Nanaimo theatre production

Yellow Point Drama Group presents ‘Grace and Glorie’ at Cedar Community Hall

Art+Earth Festival gets growing this weekend

Find out what events are in-person and what’s happening online

Film about missing and murdered indigenous women makes Nanaimo debut

A mother and daughter search for answers in Sonia Bonspille Boileau’s ‘Rustic Oracle’

Most Read