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Home News by Category The Pale King NYT Mag DFW's Unfinished Novel — and Life

NYT Mag DFW's Unfinished Novel — and Life

Sam Anderson has an article / review about The Pale King (almost... Anderson writes, In the end, “The Pale King” is basically impossible to review) and DFW in the NYT Magazine, David Foster Wallace’s Unfinished Novel — and Life. Plenty of spoilers, but one to come back to once you're done:

[...] It’s fitting, then, that the story of the publication of David Foster Wallace’s final book, “The Pale King,” has much in common with a D.F.W. story.
Most obviously it recalls “Infinite Jest,” which pivots around the release of the unfinished final work of a troubled genius (James O. Incandenza) who struggles with the same artistic issues Wallace struggled with and eventually, like Wallace, commits suicide. Incandenza’s film, “Infinite Jest,” is so entertaining it actually kills people. Wallace’s final work, “The Pale King,” was rumored to be something like the opposite: one culture blog, on hearing about its subject, wondered if it might turn out to be “the most boring book ever.”
But all of this throat-clearing is probably just my attempt to delay writing directly about “The Pale King,” a book (or manuscript, reconstruction, whatever) that’s hard to write about for a big, heaping handful of reasons. For D.F.W. fans, “The Pale King” is emotionally fraught in a way that a normal novel could never be — it’s as much an absence as a presence, as much dark matter as solid mass. And that absence turns out to be, as D.F.W. often said about just about everything, extremely complex.
Wallace’s absence is complicated, for instance, by the fact that his “authorial presence” in “The Pale King” is every bit as strong, as relentlessly present, as it has ever been.

Click through to the The Pale King info page with links to all reviews so far.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 April 2011 07:09  

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