The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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NPR - Author's Final Book An Unfinished Tale Of Boredom

NPR's All Things Considered audio program, Author's Final Book An Unfinished Tale Of Boredom (and text) about The Pale King with Michael Pietsch and Bonnie Nadell. The audio should be available at the top of the page later today:
Wallace dug into his subject by taking accounting classes starting as far back as 1997. As it turns out, his longtime agent Bonnie Nadell tells Raz, Wallace was also quite good at math. "He could take very advanced accounting classes and follow them."
Papers left in his office reveal Wallace started correspondences with various accountants around the country. He took great interest in his own accountant, Nadell says, "who loved him to pieces, because no one ever asks about all the minutia of doing someone's taxes."
Wallace sought these details, Pietsch says, because he wanted to write a novel that connected to peoples' true lives.
"He's trying to write about what's it's like to go home every day to the same spouse for 40, 50 years," Pietsch says. "How do you look into the face of a job that you know you're going to do again and again for 40 years?
"How can you find meaning? How can you find delight? How do you find love? How do you find someone who will sit with you while you talk about what happened to you in line waiting to get to the bank teller?" Those are questions Wallace grappled with until his death, Pietsch says.
The evidenceof that struggle was found in nearly 3,000 pages of drafts left in Wallace's office. Some were typed. Some were handwritten. Some were on floppy discs.
"When I first encountered it, it was this mass of material," Pietsch says, like a puzzle with no directions for assembly.