The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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So I've Been Reading The Pale King...

Reviews are out, final print copies of The Pale King are arriving all over (for reviewers and the like), and I've now got the all clear to share... after having to bite my tongue for a couple of weeks!
It's pretty good so far. I'd even hesitate to say very good. I'm not finished but I'm close. Some edges are a bit rough (I sometimes get the feeling Wallace would have honed some parts more - but I know I'm thinking that because all along we've been told it is unfinished), yet for the most part it is surprisingly polished, much more so than I expected.
There's a great Editor's Note by Michael Pietsch that explains some things that shed new light on the editing process in ways that will certainly help to answer some critics' questions about the process. But I'd advise you not to read it until you're done with the novel.
I'm not going to include any spoilers here, not yet anyway, but I will say that if you're passionate admirer of David Foster Wallace's work there will be moments when you cry.
Your partner might even walk into the room while you are sitting there with tears rolling down your face, book on your lap, because right-at-that-moment-you-just-could-not-read-one-sentence-more.
Tears because the physical book is a constant reminder of the events that have resulted in its unfinished publication, and also because, from what I've read so far, this novel is most certainly a work by David Foster Wallace. 
In every respect.
Thus far The Pale King does not read like something haphazardly edited together by a money hungry publisher. It is a work of love. And honestly? Some parts of this are close to, if not the best, things he's ever written.
This is David Foster Wallace, the matured author. If you are familiar with the breadth of his work you'll realise this not long after you begin.
I do think you'll get a lot more out of this novel if you've read some David Foster Wallace already, the wider the better, fiction AND non-fiction. The Pale King brings with it a tangible development of themes he'd been addressing his whole career, and to read the novel with these things in mind makes it infinitely more rewarding.
I should be off to bed, it's past 3am, but I've got one more chapter I want to read...
I'm 3/4 through. I don't want this to end.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 23:22  


#1 agri 2011-03-22 23:10
Thanks for that post, this really made my day.
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#2 Noelia 2011-03-23 05:28
Boy,I'm getting all choked up just reading this...
Thank you so much for sharing!
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#3 JoshW 2011-03-23 11:34
Thank you for this and all the recent posts. I'm crazy with anticipation and all this is helping me hang in there.
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#4 Fred 2011-05-26 03:41
I borrowed the audiobook from my local library and am about five discs into it. It is a sixteen-disc set, unabridged. The reader is very articulate and a master of voices. I even noticed that, in a part narrated by a character from Wisconsin, the actor pronounced "Wisconsin" as a Wisconsonite would (with almost a "g" sound where the "c" is.) I find Wallace's sentences monumental yet very basic. There is verbal athleticism, but nary a trace of sweat.
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